The James Beard Foundation (JBF) recently revealed the list of semifinalists for their 26th annual awards show honoring chefs and culinary achievement—a list which included a remarkable 23 nominations for International Culinary Center (ICC) alumni making an impact in restaurants and bakeries all over the country.
About the James Beard Awards
Each year the James Beard Foundation Awards awards acknowledge stand-out achievements of culinary professionals—narrowing down a list of semifinalists from more than 20,000 entries—as a part of the Foundation’s mission to “celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage.” In all, 21 categories of culinary awards salute professionals from around the country for excellence in every facet of the culinary experience—from chefs to service experiences to wine programs and more.
Nominations for ICC Professional Culinary Arts Alumni
ICC Professional Culinary Arts alumni who brought home James Beard Award semifinalist nods include Momofuku restaurant group founder David Chang, who earned four separate nominations: Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC earned a spot as an Outstanding Restaurant semifinalist while the food journal Lucky Peach for which Chang serves as co-editor was nominated for two Broadcast Media Awards.
Other key nominations for Professional Culinary Arts graduates include Tori Miller of L’Etoile for Outstanding Chef, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske’s Wildair for Best New Restaurant and Matt Rudofker—who is among the final nominees for Rising Star of the Year. Alumnus Joshua Skenes was also nominated as a semifinalist for Best Chef: West for his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Saison in San Francisco, also earning a nod in the Outstanding Service category. View the full list of ICC alumni and deans nominated for James Beard Awards to see other Culinary Arts grads honored as semifinalists.
Each of these distinguished alumni learned the culinary techniques that prepared them to succeed in their careers through a Total Immersion curriculum designed by legendary chef and longtime ICC Dean Jacques Pepin—which lays the foundation of expertise by teaching students more than 250 cooking techniques in just six months of hands-on learning.
The school provides Career Services for graduates throughout their careers, tapping its network of placements across restaurants, catering businesses, media and more. Find out more about becoming a chef through ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts programs in New York and California.
“One of the biggest pros that the International Culinary Center has is its network of alumni and restaurants.” –David Chang
Nominations for ICC Professional Pastry Arts Alumni
Alumni of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program have also been recognized for the impact they’ve made on the culinary scene in the past year; 2004 Pastry Arts grad Melissa Weller’s bakery Sadelle’s—which opened September 2015 in NYC and quickly gained attention from the likes of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal—earned her a place on the semifinalist list for Outstanding Baker. Fabian von Hauske, previously mentioned for the nomination of Wildair, graduated from the Pastry Arts program in addition to the Professional Culinary Arts program.
The Professional Pastry Arts program—with a number of previously-nominated alumni including Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, Nick Bonamico of Bouchon and Rebecca DeAngelis of Babbo—jumpstarts careers by immersing students in a pastry curriculum designed by world-famous chocolatier and longtime ICC Dean Jacques Torres.
Elements within the program include everything from baking fundamentals to a hands-on class with Food Network Cake Wars judge Ron Ben-Israel, and students have the option to participate in internships at places like Dominique Ansel Bakery, Ladurée and Jacques Torres’s chocolate factory and businesses. Learn more about the education and opportunities available through ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts programs in New York and California.
“At ICC, I learned the importance of working with a sense of urgency and an organized plan for the day. We were exposed to a large variety of techniques, which helped me become a well-rounded chef.” –Melissa Weller, ICC Pastry Arts alumna for Food & Wine
Nominations for International Culinary Center Bread Baking Alumni
The James Beard Awards named two of ICC’s Art of International Bread Baking alumni among the semifinalists this year. Samantha Seneviratne, a graduate of both the Bread and Professional Culinary Arts programs, was nominated in the James Beard Book Award category in Baking and Dessert for The New Sugar & Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking.
Marc Vetri, chef/owner of Vetri in Philadelphia and 2005 winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, was named a semifinalist in two categories. His book co-authored with David Joachim Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto was nominated for the Single Subject Book Award, and Vetri was recognized as a semifinalist in the Outstanding Chef category.
The Art of International Bread Baking program from which Vetri and Seneviratne graduated gives New York City students an in-depth knowledge of bread baking techniques from around the world in just eight weeks. Led by ICC alumnus and chef-instructor Johnson Yu, one of the first bakers at Michelin-starred Bouchon Bakery, bread students learn the pace of a real pastry kitchen and get experience with a variety of classic and modern baking technologies and techniques, from steam injection ovens (each student gets his or her own oven) to gluten-free bread baking.
When are the James Beard Awards?
The winners of the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards will be announced Tuesday, April 26, 2016, and awards in the Restaurant and Chef categories will be named during the James Beard Awards Gala hosted Monday, May 2 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.