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Top Chefs Across America Selected for New Culinary Program from The Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods


Austin, Minn.

The CEIP chefs represent 11 different states and all areas of commercial and non-commercial foodservice.

Dennis Goettsch, vice president of marketing for the foodservice division of Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), and Dr. Victor Gielisse, associate vice president of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), are pleased to announce the 16 chefs selected for the inaugural class of the Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP), a new innovation-focused program created to build future culinary leaders.

The CEIP chefs represent 11 different states and all areas of commercial and non-commercial foodservice. Most are responsible for menu development, scheduling, staff management, back-of-the-house operations, training, purchasing and vendor relations. All share a passion and commitment to their profession. These chefs will meet four times over the next 18 months at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus in New York. The rigorous three-day sessions will provide expert culinary perspectives on creativity, innovation, leadership and management in the culinary arts. It is the first program of its kind – addressing the specific needs of high potential professional chefs who have been in the field for five years or more.

31-year-old Denise Baron, the Culinary Director of Burtons Gill in North Reading, Mass., took a year to travel through Mexico and Central America, learning conversational Spanish to better communicate with her employees. At 27, Travis Brust has already been in the field for 15 years. He is now the Executive Sous Chef at the historic Williamsburg Inn in Williamsburg, Va. Brust’s professional maturity is respected by those who work alongside him and his passion, he explains, comes from “the growth and successes of those apprenticing and learning under my direction.” James Lynch, Executive Chef at ACTS Retirement-Life Communities/Granite Farms Estates in Media, Pa., oversees the production of 1,200 meals a day for residents aged 65 and older. Michael Edwards started as a dishwasher at age 16. Now 36, he is a Culinary Specialist First Class for the U.S. Navy at the Pentagon. He lists his biggest challenge to date as cooking and living aboard an aircraft carrier.

The 16 chefs will gather for the first session of the Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP) on Tuesday, Oct. 28. The focus will be flavors and the senses, flavor synergies and technology. As part of this course, the chefs will tour local farms with the CIA’s Paul Wigsten, who will discuss the business principles of successful local sourcing. The chefs also will spend time in the kitchen, using authentic ingredients, equipment and cooking methods to prepare dishes from regions all over the globe.

“We are already impressed by the culinary and business achievements of these talented chefs,” Goettsch said. “The goal of CEIP is to deliver a learning experience that will move these chefs to the next level in their careers by strengthening their leadership abilities and urging them to embrace innovation in the culinary arts.” For more information on the program, the students and the sessions, visit

CEIP Inaugural Class, 2008-2010

Jonna Anne -Campus Auxiliary Services, SUNY Geneseo; Geneseo, N.Y.

Denise Baron – Burtons Grill; North Reading, Mass.

Amy Bishopric-Miller – Blue Trout Grill; Keene, N.H.

Travis Brust – Williamsburg Inn; Williamsburg, Va.

Eric Cartwright – Campus Dining Services, University of Missouri; Columbia, Mo.

Thomas Dickhans – Hormel Foods Corporation; Austin, Minn.

Michael Edwards – U.S. Navy, the Pentagon; Arlington, Va.

William Geller – Classic Residence by Hyatt; Lantana, Fla.

Daniel Hernandez – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Fort Worth, Texas

Joel Hetrick – Classic Residence by Hyatt; Glenview, Ill.

James Lynch – ACTS Retirement-Life Communities/Granite Farms Estates; Media, Pa.

Jose Carlos Magalhaes – UFood Grill Restaurants; Newton, Mass.

Greg Massett – Yakima Country Club; Yakima, Wash.

Tim Recher – Hilton Alexandria Mark Center; Alexandria, Va.

Erik Rickard – Harrah’s Casino: Maryland Heights, Mo.

Christian Watson – Morrison Healthcare; Chicago, Ill.

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. For each of the past nine years, Hormel Foods has been named one of “The Best Big Companies in America” by Forbes magazine. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers and foodservice 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, and Texas. 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