The Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods Expand Reach of Industry”s Only Top Chef Advanced Management Training Program

“As CEIP grows, reaching deeper into the industry and involving more chefs through personal experience and word-of-mouth, we anticipate that our alumni will truly represent the future leadership of the American culinary world,” said Ron DeSantis, C.M.C., director of CIA Consulting and co-founder of CEIP.

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. Consisting of four academic and experiential modules, CEIP covers a range of topics, including global flavor traditions; the 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. 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.

The CIA Certified Master Chefs who created the educational modules, including Victor Gielisse, D.B.A., C.M.C., C.H.E. and associate vice president of the CIA’s Business Development, and DeSantis, have integrated experiences that serve to change perceptions and initiate conversations on the chefs’ own roles as leaders. Over the course of the program, the chefs will tour local sustainable farms and discuss best working relationship practices, prepare a gourmet four-course meal with only a trace of salt and a hint of butter, converse with well-known entrepreneurs, and role-play executive positions such as vice president of operations for a foodservice establishment in need of innovation. “The goal is for these chefs to begin to think differently about every aspect of their work, so that they will bring a new level of vision to their organizations and to the industry at large,” said Dennis Goettsch, vice president of marketing for the foodservice division of Hormel Foods Corporation, and co-founder of the program.