HYDE PARK, N.Y., April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The seventh annual Leadership Awards—the Augies—from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) were held on April 25 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City to raise funds for CIA student scholarships. Created in honor of famed French chef Auguste Escoffier, the Augie Awards celebrate success and achievement of the foodservice industry's best chefs, visionaries, and entrepreneurs. Augie recipients exemplify a tradition of innovation and leadership. Augies were presented to four individuals who exemplify, in spirit and deed, the CIA's four core value pillars:
- Daniel Humm, executive chef, Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad Hotel, New York, NY, was honored for his dedication to professional excellence and innovation
- Clifford Pleau '81, corporate executive chef, Seasons 52, Orlando, FL, honored for creating restaurant menus that promote health and wellness
- Rick Bayless, chef/owner, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and Xoco, Chicago, IL, honored for his contribution to the understanding of world cuisines and cultures
- Walter Robb, co-CEO, Whole Foods Market, Austin, TX, honored for his commitment to sustainability and food ethics
The Grand Hyatt ballroom was filled with nearly 400 attendees—including industry leaders such as Thomas Keller, Steve Ells, David Burke, Alex Stupak, and Charlie Palmer. Throughout the program, videos by CIA students and the honorees and a presentation from CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan proclaimed the theme of the event, Food Matters. In his opening remarks, Dr. Ryan declared, "Not only is food part of everyone's traditions and family celebrations—it is a bridge to other cultures; it fosters understanding among the people of the world, it nourishes the body and the soul, and it inspires innovation, excellence, and creativity."
Each honoree had advice for the 30 CIA students who were assisting at the celebration and the entire of the student body, many of whom followed the program on Twitter.
- Daniel Humm discussed how he finds inspiration through the music of the great jazz innovator, Miles Davis, and abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning. Davis pushed the envelope and charted new territory with every album, and de Kooning said, "I have to change to stay the same," a sentiment Chef Humm has taken to heart.
- Cliff Pleau told the audience that his vision for a restaurant like Seasons 52 began early in his career, but it took nearly 20 years to come true. He spent a lot of time practicing "culinary imagineering," and over the years, collaboration and risk-taking became as important to his success as his commitment to helping Americans eat more mindfully.
- Rich Bayless took a different path on the way to earning his Ph.D. in anthropological linguistics. Food was his passion. "With one bite of a dish," says Chef Bayless, "and sometimes just a look at the dish, you can tell you reams of things about a culture, its history, its agriculture, and its people."
- Walter Robb quoted author and academic Wendell Berry several times in his remarks about sustainability. He sees 100 percent transparency in the future of food, with stores and restaurants providing complete information about how food is grown, made, and transported.
As Dr. Ryan noted, "Each honoree was presented his Augie in the name of just one of our thought-leadership pillars, but they are all committed to all of the pillars. The role of today's chefs and food professionals is not only about flavor development and pleasing customers. Chefs must be socially responsible citizens of the world, and it is our job and our privilege at the CIA to train them with that goal in mind."
All proceeds from the Leadership Awards dinner support CIA student scholarships. Over $49,000 were raised through the live auction alone.
SOURCE The Culinary Institute of America