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The Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods Open Applications for Second Culinary Leadership Class Following Successful Inaugural Program


Austin, Minn.

Applications for the second session of the Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP) are now open. Chefs of the inaugural class of this elite culinary program celebrated their graduation yesterday at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Created by the CIA and Hormel Foods, and launched at the CIA in 2008, CEIP is the only professional development program to offer advanced management training specifically designed for skilled commercial and non-commercial chefs.

“We’re exceptionally pleased with the response we’ve had to the program,” said Dennis Goettsch, vice president of marketing, Hormel Foods, Foodservice Division and CEIP co-founder. “Creating and launching a new educational program in today’s environment was a testament to our confidence in its potential …we realized the power of a program that teaches professional chefs how to identify, practice and master the necessary skills for culinary leadership and innovation. There is simply no other curriculum like this – created for chefs who will be assuming industry leadership roles in the future,” said Goettsch. Hormel Foods has underwritten the cost of program development and the tuition for all participating students.

The 16 participating CEIP chefs attend four intense three-day sessions at the CIA over a period of 18 months. These academic and experiential modules, developed and taught by CIA Certified Master Chefs (C.M.C.s), range in theme and include global flavor traditions; the ethical responsibilities of preparing foods in a healthful, flavorful way; the principles of leadership and innovation; and menu R&D as a collaboration of culinary arts, consumer behavior, food science and management. Roundtable discussions with renowned industry leaders and one-on-one feedback from the C.M.C.s are highlights of this unique program.

A blend of lectures, in-kitchen and hands-on learning, the CEIP program includes site-specific tours of organic growers, discussions about farming over fresh milk and cookies in a dairy farmer’s living room, a visit to a premium distillery to discuss marketing theory, late night planning sessions with team members on the next day’s challenges, and role playing as the Director of Food Science, Director of Marketing or Director of R&D in a fictitious organization.

Dr. Victor Gielisse, D.B.A, C.M.C, C.H.E., associate vice president of the CIA’s Business Development and co-founder of the CEIP program, confirmed that the inaugural class exceeded the expectations of both the CIA and Hormel Foods. “We clearly saw the growth of these students, each of whom was a talented and proven chef in his or her own organization,” said Gielisse. “Our goal with the curriculum is to challenge these chefs to think about their work in a new way, from the perspective of an industry leader who recognizes the implications of all of his/her actions. Although it’s demanding, it provides the chefs an opportunity to disconnect from daily responsibilities and stresses, to reinvigorate the passion for their craft, to connect with others that they otherwise wouldn’t have met, and to build confidence in their own abilities to lead. This is immeasurable,” said Gielisse.

CEIP chefs and their organizations immediately recognized the unique benefits of the program. “These chefs’ mentors and managers have seen the spark, the energy, the knowledge and perspective that they bring back to their organizations,” said Ron DeSantis, C.M.C., A.A.C., C.H.E., M.B.A, director of CIA Consulting and co-founder of the CEIP program.

“I didn’t realize how much of an educational experience this was going to be for us…it’s very focused on learning how we can be better chefs, how we can be better executives and what we can do to grow,” said CEIP chef Tim Recher. Recher is executive chef and director of outlets for Hilton Alexandria Hotel, Alexandria, Va. (See full video interviews at

CEIP chef Eric Cartwright, executive chef for Campus Dining Services, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., is an active proponent of training for his staff. “My team looks forward to when I come back…because they know whatever I come up here and get to experience, I’m going to do my best to relay that information to them…” he said.

On completion of the program, CEIP chefs receive a certificate of completion from the CIA, as well as eight continuing education units.

Applications for the class of 2012 are available at All applications must be submitted by June 15, 2010. Interested chefs must have at least five years of professional experience and proven culinary and leadership skills. They must be creative, passionate and innovative. College degrees and/or past schooling in or certification from a culinary institution is not required. Only 16 chefs will be selected for participation in the next CEIP program, which will begin in October of this year and conclude in April of 2012.

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 quality, value-added brands to the global marketplace. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Hormel Foods was named one of “The 400 Best Big Companies in America” by Forbes magazine for 10 consecutive years. 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

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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 in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and professional wine studies. As the world’s premier culinary college, the CIA has a network of more than 40,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Chiarello, Cat Cora, Steve Ells, Todd English, Duff Goldman, Sara Moulton, Charlie Palmer and Roy Yamaguchi. The college has campuses in New York (Hyde Park), California (The CIA at Greystone, St. Helena), and Texas (San Antonio). In addition to its degree programs, the CIA also offers courses for professionals and food enthusiasts. For more information, and a complete listing of program offerings at each site, visit the CIA online at