Dorothy Cann HamiltonFounder and CEO
Dorothy Cann Hamilton is one of the most influential forces shaping the American culinary landscape today. An entrepreneurial educator and culinary leader, her lifelong passion for education and love of food and wine inspired her to found the French Culinary Institute in 1984. The school has more than 15,000 graduates--including many of America’s most prominent chefs such as Bobby Flay, Dan Barber and David Chang—with alumni from 83 countries.
Over the years, FCI expanded its programming. Curriculum additions include an Italian immersion program marrying cooking and culture; Restaurant Management; Intensive Sommelier Training; Farm-to-Table, involving Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns; and Spanish Culinary Arts, developed in 2013 with the school’s Dean of Spanish Studies, world-renowned culinary innovator Jose Andres, and Colman Andrews, a leading expert on Spanish cuisine and co-founder of Saveur. This broader offering of cuisines and lifestyle courses led to FCI being renamed the International Culinary Center (ICC) in 2012.
ICC has also expanded its global reach. New York City and California schools reside in state-of-the art cooking and educational facilities, providing the ultimate setting for the rigorous education that guides the curriculum. Students who attend The Italian Culinary Experience spend a portion of their studies at the Parma, Italy, campus, learning firsthand about regional products and cooking methods. And in October 2013, the White House announced that ICC, along with the James Beard Foundation, has been selected to create the USA Pavilion at the World’s Fair (EXPO) in Milan in 2015, with Hamilton as the President of the project.
Hamilton’s distinguished career in vocational education and outstanding reputation for gastronomic innovation has most recently earned her the title of Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Her many other distinctions include the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation; a Silver Spoon from Food Arts Magazine; the IACP Award of Excellence for Vocational Cooking School; the U.S. representative at Seoul’s 2010 C20 Summit of cultural and political dignitaries; Chevalier du Mérite Agricole (Agricultural Merit Knighthood) from the French government; a knighting by the Association Internationale de Maîtres Conseil dans la Gastronomie Française; the Outstanding American Educator award from Madrid Fusion; the Diplôme d’Honneur of the Vatel Club des Etats-Unis; and Dame de l’Anée of the Académie Culinaire de France in 2006. In 2001, Hamilton also received the prestigious Ordre National du Mérite (National Order of Merit Award) from the French government.
Past Chairman of the Board of the James Beard Foundation, Hamilton is Chair Emeritus of the American Institute of Food and Wine. She is active in many non-profit organizations targeting delicious, nutritious eating in primary and secondary schools, including Wellness in the Schools.
Hamilton is the creator and host of Chef’s Story, a weekly radio program on the Heritage Radio Network and a 26-part television series, which aired on PBS in 2007, and is co-author of its companion book. Many of the textbooks she conceived for the school’s students—The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine, The Fundamental Techniques of Pastry Arts andThe Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine—received James Beard Foundation Awards for best professional cookbook. Her book Love What You Do: Building A Career in the Culinary Industrywas published in 2009.
Hamilton was first introduced to fine French dining while studying at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England, when she made numerous trips to France. After graduating with a B.A. honors degree, she spent three years in the Peace Corps in Thailand, where she learned about Asian cuisine. She earned an M.B.A. from the Stern School and NYU, and is a graduate of the OPM program at Harvard Business School.
Hamilton currently resides with her daughter in New York City and Litchfield County.