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The Culinary Institute Of America And Hormel Foods Announce The 16 Chefs Chosen For Their Third Culinary Leadership Class

The educational modules of CEIP were originally created in 2008 for the inaugural CEIP class, but have steadily evolved since that time to reflect changes in the foodservice industry.

Among those attending will be several chefs from colleges and universities, including: University of Southern California Executive Chef Eric Ernest, who oversees menus and training for 40 unique locations on two campuses; and Boston College Associate Director of Food and Beverage Michael Kann, whose pre-culinary school biochemistry background gives him unique insights into food. Attending from the healthcare segment is Christina Bodanza, executive chef at Watermark Retirement Communities, who is also certified as a dementia practitioner by The National Council of Dementia Practitioners; and Justin Johnson, executive chef at the University of Wisconsin Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center, who revolutionized foodservice in a local retirement home and is in the process of doing the same at a hospital. Others in the class include Mary Grace Viado Howard, corporate executive chef at the 11-unit Village Tavern restaurants, who was challenged with ensuring the food made with local ingredients at the chain’s Philippine location tasted the same as its American counterpart; and Martin Pfefferkorn, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, an Austrian-born chef who had extensive experience working in European hotels before coming to the U.S. to live in the Upper Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast.

“We want to help these chefs see the world a bit differently, so they can bring a broader vision and wider horizons to their organizations, and ultimately the industry at large,” said Bill Dion, product innovation team leader for the foodservice division of Hormel Foods. The company is a co-founder of the program and has underwritten the development of the curriculum. It also sponsors the tuition for each of the participating students. “We feel we’re helping to prepare today’s best and brightest chefs for leadership in our industry,” Dion said.

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