Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain delivered the keynote address at commencement at his alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America, on December 19. After giving advice to the college's bachelor's degree candidates, Chef Bourdain received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Culinary Arts degree from CIA President Tim Ryan.
"Anthony Bourdain is possibly the most recognizable food personality on the planet," Dr. Ryan said. "He's an accomplished chef, author, publisher, entrepreneur, and television host who shares his commitment to excellence and passion for food with audiences around the world. We are proud of his many achievements and pleased to present him with an honorary doctoral degree from the college."
"The CIA is an institution that I'm very grateful for having attended," Bourdain told the 143 graduates and their families. "It was incredibly important to me. I had a good time here, and I'm grateful for all of the skills I learned and the experiences I had."
After beginning his culinary career as a dishwasher on Cape Cod during summers while attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, Bourdain enrolled at the CIA, graduating in 1978. During more than two decades of cooking at top New York City restaurants, he began writing. A magazine article in The New Yorker led to the bestselling Kitchen Confidential. Chef Bourdain went on to write several novels, non-fiction books, and cookbooks before turning to television. Both A Cook's Tour and the Emmy-winning Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations featured episodes recorded at the CIA. He can now be seen on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN, a show with five Emmy Awards for which he has also served as executive producer.
"What kind of a place do we want to work in? What kind of leaders do we want to be?" Bourdain challenged the recipients of degrees in Food Business Management, Culinary Science, and Applied Food Studies. "Please go out there in this new world that is being created right in front of us right now ... and change that world for the better."
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