The Culinary Institute of America to Host Thomas Keller Day

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Students to Interact with Iconic Chef, Protégés, and Purveyors

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Thomas Keller, one of the world's most celebrated and influential chefs, will be at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on Monday, May 13 for a day of discussions with students, breakout sessions regarding various restaurant business topics, and a culinary presentation.

"Thomas Keller is the most important chef in American history," said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. "Countless CIA students aspire to work with him, and many more hope to be similarly accomplished one day. The chance to learn from him in person will be an extraordinary experience for our students—the future leaders of the food world."

Chef Keller will be bringing top staff members to the college from his celebrated restaurants, including The French Laundry in Yountville, CA; Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas, NV; and Per Se in New York City. Several Keller protégés who are prominent in their own right will also be taking part, including CIA graduates Grant Achatz '94—whose Alinea in Chicago has earned the maximum three stars from the Michelin Guide and is widely considered one of the best restaurants in the world—and Jonathan Benno '93, executive chef of Lincoln Ristorante in New York City and former chef de cuisine at Per Se.

"I'm deeply honored by Dr. Ryan's invitation," Chef Keller said. "Education in all of its forms is the foundation for all of life's pursuits, and it has certainly been key to my own growth as a chef. Any time I have a chance to share some of what I learned, I see it as an opportunity to give back in a modest way—it's a small measure of thanks for everything that so many others have given to me."

With The French Laundry and Per Se, Thomas Keller is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star Michelin Guide ratings. The French Laundry was honored as the World's Best Restaurant by the UK-based Restaurant magazine in 2003. Two years later, the same magazine named Per Se the World's Best New Restaurant. Keller won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 1997 and was named America's Best Chef by Time magazine in 2001. Chef Keller also serves as president of the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation.

In 2011, French President Nicolas Sarkozy designated Chef Keller a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of French cuisine and his role in elevating cooking in America. He is only the third American culinary figure to be so honored. The medal designating his rank was presented by Chef Paul Bocuse in a special ceremony at Per Se.

The day will include opening remarks to CIA students by Chef Keller about the evolution of a chef. Breakout sessions will cover topics ranging from service and wine pairing to working with purveyors and making the transition from chef to restaurateur.

The schedule wraps up with a culinary presentation by Chef Keller featuring several of his principal chefs, including Eli Kaimeh '00 of Per Se, followed by a Q&A session for students with Chef Keller.

There are no classes on campus that day, and more than 1,000 students are expected to take part in some or all of the events. In recent years, CIA students have also had opportunities to interact with such culinary luminaries as Ferran Adrià, Paul Bocuse, and Chef Achatz.

Join the conversation on twitter @CIACulinary #TKDayCIA.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1: Although May 13, 2013 is the first time an entire day at The Culinary Institute of America is set aside for students to learn from Thomas Keller, the chef shares his knowledge with students whenever he comes to Hyde Park, such as this visit in 2010. (Photo credit: CIA/Keith Ferris)
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Photo 2: When Thomas Keller comes to the CIA campus, he's treated like a rock star by students. Several asked him to sign their chef jackets during a 2012 visit. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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