After raising a record $1 million for student scholarships at the 2016 Leadership Awards gala, The Culinary Institute of America is setting its sights high for this year’s event. On April 19, more than 600 foodservice and hospitality industry leaders, celebrity chefs, CIA alumni, and other luminaries from business and entertainment will come together at the American Museum of Natural History on New York City’s Upper West Side to honor a “Trio of Titans.”
During the festivities, Dr. Tim Ryan, president of the CIA, will present the Augie Award™ to three individuals who, through their prolific life’s work, have transformed and elevated the food and hospitality industry—helping it garner the respect it deserves. Created in tribute to famed French chef Auguste Escoffier, the Augie Awards recognize the achievement of visionaries, entrepreneurs, and chefs. This years’ honorees embody the qualities of leadership, strength, determination, and innovation:
Shep Gordon: Talent manager for rock stars, Hollywood agent, film producer, and New York Times bestselling author, Shep Gordon is also credited with creating the celebrity chef category. The subject of an award-winning Mike Myers documentary film, Supermensch, he penned his own memoir, They Call Me Supermensch, in 2016.
Jacques Pépin: A former columnist for The New York Times, his articles have appeared in countless food magazines. Chef Pépin’s awards include France’s highest civilian honor, La Legion d’Honneur; 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, including the Life-time Achievement Award; and an Emmy Award for his PBS series with Julia Child.
Martha Stewart: Emmy Award-winning television host, bestselling author, trusted lifestyle expert, and respected business entrepreneur, Martha Stewart’s brand of high-quality household and garden products are sold at major retailers nationwide. Her latest television show pairs her with rap star, Snoop Dogg.
“Martha Stewart, Jacques Pepin, and Shep Gordon all have a commitment to excellence that mirrors the core values of the CIA,” says Dr. Ryan. “They are all trailblazers, innovators, and provide tremendous inspiration to our students and alumni alike. We are proud to honor them.”
The evening will begin with a lavish menu of hors d’oeuvre prepared by guest chefs, many of whom are CIA alumni, followed by a sit down dinner. There will also be an online auction, to open for bidding two weeks prior to the gala, to raise additional scholarship funds. More than two dozen current CIA students—from the associate and bachelor’s programs—will also be on hand to assist the event chefs and add their personal thank-you’s to all in attendance.
A not-for-profit institution, the CIA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the same organization that accredits universities like Princeton and Columbia. More than 90 percent of the CIA student body depends on some type of financial aid, and the Leadership Awards is its largest annual fundraising program. The college relies on alliances with the private and public sectors to achieve its goal of excellence and to maintain its reputation as the world’s premier culinary college.