This year, ICC alumni and Dean David Kinch received a staggering 33 semifinalist nominations for the the 2019 James Beard Awards—known best as the “Oscars of the Food World”—recognizing their talent and dedication to their craft. Last night, while Hollywood A-listers flaunted fabulous fashions at the Met Gala, the who’s who of food & beverage gathered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the year’s most prestigious award ceremony in the culinary industry. The 3,500-seat theater full of hopefuls and their guests included 15 ICC alumni, plus our dean, waiting to hear if they’d win big this year. Alumni chefs and restaurant owners were not only present as finalists—Elena Besser, Professional Culinary Arts ’16, showed off her food media chops as one of the red carpet co-hosts for the foundation. Check out her coverage on the live feed, which garnered over 1.5 million views!
Steven Cook, co-owner of CookNSolo Restaurants, alongside his business partner Michael Solomonov, won the award for Outstanding Restaurant for the famed Zahav in Philadelphia. Cook, a graduate of our Culinary Arts program in 2000, was awarded ICC’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship last year for his achievement as one of the country’s most successful restaurateurs, overseeing a mini-empire in New York & Philadelphia.
Ashley Christensen, graduate of ICC’s Sous Vide Intensive program, took home the evenings top honors, receiving the award for Outstanding Chef. If you’re looking to amp up your Sous Vide skills just as Chef Christensen did in 2012, check out our revamped 2-day Sous Vide Intensive course here.
Other winners from last night’s celebrations included Kelly Jeun, Co-Executive Chef of Frasca Food and Wine in Colorado, which received the award for Outstanding Service. One of NYC’s hottest restaurants Atomix, where our Intensive Sommelier Training graduate—Jhonel Faelnar—is an integral part of the tight-knit team as Wine Director, received the award for Restaurant Design for 75 Seats and Under. Even before Monday’s awards ceremony, two ICC alumni went home as winners at the Media Awards on April 26th. David Chang received the award for Outstanding Reporting for his coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, while Nick Fauchald, co-author of the book Cocktail Codex received the award for Book of the Year.
Congratulations to the 6 ICC alumni who were bestowed with a coveted James Beard Award this year! Read below for more information on our winners.