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The Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods Expand Reach of Industry’s Only Top Chef Advanced Management Training Program


Hyde Park, N.Y.

The successful Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP), a collaboration between The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), will welcome 16 new students to the program on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus.

Members of this CEIP Class of 2012, with representatives from 12 different states, will begin their 18-month journey of culinary excellence following the graduation of the inaugural class earlier this year. CEIP is the only professional development program to offer advanced management training specifically designed for skilled chefs.

“As CEIP grows, reaching deeper into the industry and involving more chefs through personal experience and word-of-mouth, we anticipate that our alumni will truly represent the future leadership of the American culinary world,” said Ron DeSantis, C.M.C., director of CIA Consulting and co-founder of CEIP.

The program’s objective is to teach an elite group of professional chefs how to identify, practice and master the necessary skills for culinary leadership and innovation. Consisting of four academic and experiential modules, CEIP covers a range of topics, including global flavor traditions; the ethical responsibilities of healthful, flavorful food preparation; leadership and innovation; and menu R&D as a collaboration of culinary arts, consumer behavior, food science and management. CEIP participants gather for three intense days every six months, disconnecting from their daily responsibilities as senior level chefs and immersing themselves in lectures, homework, hands-on kitchen work and one-to-one dialogue with fellow chefs and visiting guest lecturers.

The CEIP Class of 2012 includes chefs from 8 commercial and 8 non-commercial foodservice establishments, representing colleges and universities, healthcare, food management services, fine dining, quick service and fast casual operations. Among those attending are Ida Shen, assistant director, executive chef, from the University of California, Berkeley, who also is on the executive committee for Cal Dining, which serves more than 3.5 million customers annually in its facilities; Jens Retlev, director of culinary for Au Bon Pain out of Boston, who brings 40 years of culinary experience ranging from cookbook author to chef to restaurateur to businessman; Gregory Strickland, executive chef for Vi at Highlands Ranch in Colorado, where he has introduced a coursed, fully composed menu for increasingly discerning seniors at this leading luxury senior living facility; and Christopher Culp, manager of food and beverage concepts and innovation for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in Atlanta, who is responsible for the development and support of concept food and beverage programs for the IHG brands.

The CIA Certified Master Chefs who created the educational modules, including Victor Gielisse, D.B.A., C.M.C., C.H.E. and associate vice president of the CIA’s Business Development, and DeSantis, have integrated experiences that serve to change perceptions and initiate conversations on the chefs’ own roles as leaders. Over the course of the program, the chefs will tour local sustainable farms and discuss best working relationship practices, prepare a gourmet four-course meal with only a trace of salt and a hint of butter, converse with well-known entrepreneurs, and role-play executive positions such as vice president of operations for a foodservice establishment in need of innovation. “The goal is for these chefs to begin to think differently about every aspect of their work, so that they will bring a new level of vision to their organizations and to the industry at large,” said Dennis Goettsch, vice president of marketing for the foodservice division of Hormel Foods Corporation, and co-founder of the program.

Created by the CIA and Hormel Foods, Hormel Foods has underwritten the development of the curriculum and sponsors the tuition for each of the participating students. “We wanted to invest in the future of the culinary arts, helping prepare today’s best and brightest chefs for leadership in the field,” Goettsch said. For more information on the program and the Class of 2012, please visit

CEIP Class of 2012

Kristin Bonnell ACTS Life Retirement Communities, Pensacola, Fla.
Christopher Culp InterContinental Hotels Group, Atlanta, Ga.
Christopher Candullo Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn.
Jacob Eslinger Romano’s Macaroni Grill, South Portland, Maine
Jeff Ledford Chartwells Higher Education at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio
Larry Leibowitz Guckenheimer, Stoneham, Mass.
Ashley Lux Harrah’s Entertainment, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Brian Ray Sodexo Healthcare, Lahey Clinic North Shore, Boston, Mass.
Paul Reinfeld Compass Group, Charlotte, N.C.
Jens Retlev Au Bon Pain, Boston, Mass.
George Shannon Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, Va.
Ida Shen University of California, Berkeley
Gregory Strickland Vi at Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Kayleen Vander Veen Central College, Pella, Iowa
Justin Watson Kingsmill Resort and Spa, Williamsburg, Va.
Gregory Wiener The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, Carefree, Ariz.

About Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, many of which are among the best known and trusted in the food industry. The company leverages its extensive expertise, innovation and high competencies in pork and turkey processing and marketing to bring branded, value-added products to the global marketplace. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Maplecroft Climate Innovation Indexes, Global 1000 Sustainable Performance Leaders, and was named one of “The 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” by Forbes in 2010. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, foodservice and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience and value. For more information, visit

About The Culinary Institute of America

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not for profit college offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificate programs, in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The college has campuses in New York, California, Texas and Singapore. In addition to its degree programs, the CIA also offers courses for professionals and food enthusiasts, as well as wine education. For more information, and a complete listing of program offerings at each site, visit the CIA online at