Officials excited for culinary grads

Published 8:04 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

Members of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Hormel Foods — who both helped develop the Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP) — are eagerly awaiting the graduation of the CEIP Class of 2012.

This week, members of the CEIP Class of 2012 are gathering for their fourth and final session at the CIA Greystone campus in Napa Valley, Calif. Their focus is menu research and development: the collaborative process of culinary arts, food science, consumer behavior and management.

The CEIP Class of 2012 graduates Thursday, April 19, at Greystone.

Dennis Goettsch, vice president of marketing at Hormel Foods and CEIP co-founder, is pleased with the legacy that’s being created.

“The program is delivering exactly what we’d hoped,” he said. “In addition to establishing lasting friendships that will serve them well as they progress in their leadership roles, these chefs are better prepared to strengthen their own organizations and build a stronger, more thoughtful culinary industry for the future.”

Hormel Foods underwrites the cost for program development and tuition for all participating students.

Graduating CEIP students:

—Kristin Bonnell, Sous chef, Acts Life Communities, Pensacola, Fla.

—Christopher Culp, Manager of food & beverage concepts and innovation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Atlanta, Ga.

—Christopher Candullo, Scientist, R&D chef, Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn.

—Jeff Ledford, Executive chef, residential dining, Chartwells, and Higher Education at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio

—Larry Leibowitz, Regional executive chef, East Coast and Guckenheimer, Boston, Mass.

—Ashley Lux, Sous chef, Ceasar’s Entertainment, Council Bluffs, Iowa

—Brian Ray, Executive chef, Sodexo Healthcare, Boston, Mass.

—Paul Reinfeld, Director of Dining Services, Chartwells Higher Education, Charlotte, N.C.

—George Shannon, Sous chef, Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, Va.

—Gregory Strickland, Executive chef, Vi at Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

—Kayleen Vander Veen, Chef and quality control supervisor, Central College, Pella, Iowa

—Justin Watson, Executive chef, Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock, Vt.

—Gregory Wiener, Executive chef, The Buttes-Marriott Resort, Tempe, Ariz.

Applications for the next CEIP class, which will begin in spring 2013, will open in September. Details will be available this summer at