Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Congrats to FCI's Outstanding Alums

On Monday, I was privileged to attend an intimate ceremony, which honored the French Culinary Institute's Alumni All-Stars with Outstanding Alumni Awards.  Revered for their unquestionable excellence in categories such as professional achievement, the artistry of bread baking, pastry, restaurant management and an overall outstanding culinary award, each recipient was presented with a gorgeously designed award, recognizing them in each respective capacity.

Here's the event low-down...

Held on the 4th floor dining area of the French Culinary Institute, (actually in the same room where I judged the student final), it was nice to bring the awards back to the place where all the magic happened, so to speak. 

The long, rectangular room was set up for cocktail hour with a couple of tall tables and a bar as well, where wine and champagne was served.  What I love about this room is the prime-time view you get of the kitchen where students worked, busy as bees, making delicious hors d'oeuvres for guests.


The caliber of honorees was motivating and humbling at the same time.  It was amazing to see the excellence each alumni brought to the table over the years with their unique accomplishments - from producing hit Food Network shows to creating cereal infused milk, the variety of achievements was just astounding.  And here they are:

Zak Pelaccio, Executive Chef/Partner, Fatty Crab & Cue
Winner of the Outstanding Culinary Award

Zak's acceptance speech

Mark Dissin, Vice President of Production, Food Network
Winner of the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award
Mark's acceptance speech

Laura Pensiero, Owner/Manager, Gigi Trattoria
Winner of the Outstanding Restaurant Management Award
Laura's acceptance speech

Christina Tosi, Pastry Chef, Momofuku Milk Bar
Winner of the Outstanding Pastry Award - I agree, her compost cookie and the blueberry & cream cookie rocks!
Christina's acceptance speech

Roger Gural, Baker/Consultant, Payard Bread
Winner of the Outstanding Bread Award

Roger's acceptance speech

Congratulations to all the winners! 

If you've been inspired by their stories, check out the French Culinary Institute, where you can learn more about the culinary world (and making it your career perhaps).  And if you need to be inspired further, here's a short video from FCI Dean, Alain Sailhac.

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