Dorothy Cann HamiltonFounder and CEO
Inspired by the premier vocational schools in Europe she visited in the early 1980s, Hamilton founded The French Culinary Institute (FCI) in 1984. Since then, the school has evolved from a small, well-respected French cooking school to the highly acclaimed International Culinary Center with campuses in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and Parma, Italy. The New York 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. Additionally, students who attend The Italian Culinary Experience spend a portion of their studies at the school’s Parma, Italy campus, learning about regional products, traditional cooking methods and the Italian language. Over the years, Hamilton’s keen instincts also led to several curriculum additions, including an Estate Management Studies division, Intensive Sommelier Training, and Restaurant Management. In May 2012, Hamilton announced José Andrés, world-renowned Spanish chef and culinary innovator, as dean of Spanish Studies at The International Culinary Center. Together with Andrés and Colman Andrews, one of the world’s leading experts on Spanish cuisine and co-founder of Saveur, The International Culinary Center has developed a curriculum in traditional and modern Spanish cuisine.
Hamilton’s distinguished career in vocational education and her outstanding reputation for creating innovative programs in gastronomy has earned her numerous awards including the 2013 IACP’s Entrepreneur/Business Person of the Year Award, the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation; a Silver Spoon award from Food Arts magazine; the 2006, 2010 and 2012 IACP Award of Excellence for Vocational Cooking School; United States 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.
Hamilton has served as Chairman of the Board of the James Beard Foundation and holds the title of Chair Emeritus of the American Institute of Food and Wine. She is active in many non-profit organizations targeting delicious and nutritious eating in primary and secondary schools, including Wellness in the Schools.
Hamilton was the creator and host of Chef’s Story, a 26-part television series, which debuted on PBS in April 2007, and the author of the companion book, Chef’s Story. Since May 2012, Hamilton has been hosting a weekly radio program, “Chef’s Story,” on www.heritageradionetwork.org, where she interviews today’s leading chefs (Wednesdays at 12pm EST). She also conceived textbooks for the school—The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine, The Fundamental Techniques of Pastry Arts, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking, and The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine—the first two of which received James Beard Foundation Awards for best professional cookbook; the pastry book was also acknowledged by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Her book on culinary careers, Love What You Do: Building a Career in the Culinary Industry was published in the fall of 2009.
Hamilton was first introduced to fine French dining while she was studying at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England at which time she made numerous trips to France. After graduating with a B.A. honors degree, Hamilton spent three years in the Peace Corps in Thailand where she learned about Asian cuisine. She earned an M.B.A. from New York University.
Hamilton currently resides with her daughter in New York City and Litchfield County.