The successful Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP), a collaboration between The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the foodservice division of Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL), has announced the 16 students who will comprise its CEIP Class of 2014. The students, who hail from 12 different states, represent foodservice operations in both the commercial and non-commercial segments ranging from multi-unit restaurants to universities to hospitals and senior living. Their 18-month journey of culinary excellence will begin April 16, 2013. CEIP is the only professional development program to offer advanced management training specifically designed for skilled chefs. Now beginning its third session, CEIP received a record number of applications for the Class of 2014, attesting to both the heightened awareness and effectiveness of the program. While the minimum requirement for entry into the program is five years of professional experience, each of this year’s chosen chefs has at least 15 years in the field. “The whole CEIP program is about enrichment and innovation. In our previous graduating classes we’ve seen how the participants use the information they’ve learned to better their menus, to challenge their purchasing position, and to try to get better products into their establishments,” said Dave Kamen, project manager of CIA Consulting and newly appointed CEIP program director. While the previous CEIP sessions were held at one or two of the CIA’s campuses, the Class of 2014 will be the first to attend modules at all three of the Institute’s North American facilities: St. Helena, Calif. (module 1), San Antonio, Texas (module 2), and Hyde Park, N.Y. (modules 3 and 4). This will give the class the unique opportunity to experience the seasonal differences in the CIA’s programs across the country, as well as be exposed to a wider array of Certified Master Chefs. The program’s objective is to teach an elite group of professional chefs how to identify, practice and master the necessary skills for culinary leadership and innovation. CEIP participants gather for three intense days every six months, disconnecting from their daily responsibilities as senior level chefs and immersing themselves in lectures, homework, hands-on kitchen work and one-to-one dialogue with fellow chefs and visiting guest lecturers. Consisting of four academic and experiential modules, CEIP covers a range of topics, including: global flavor traditions; ethical responsibilities of healthful, flavorful food preparation; leadership and innovation; and menu R&D as a collaboration of culinary arts, consumer behavior, food science and management. This year’s participants will explore everything from the relationships among the five senses, to principles of Modernist Cuisine. They’ll also tour a local farm and winery, create food focused on world flavor traditions to better understand its profit potential, and explore novel approaches to developing new applications that help differentiate their operation.