Todd English, who had been interested in the culinary arts since the age of 15, graduated from the Cooking Institute of America in 1982. After an apprenticeship in Italy, English returned to the U.S. and served as Executive Chef for three years at the Northern Italian restaurant, Michelas, in Cambridge, Mass.
In spring 1991, he won the coveted James Beard Foundation award for National Rising Star Chef, and then the Best Chef in the Northeast title in 1994. Nation's Restaurant News named him one of the Top 50 Tastemakers in 1999, and he was Bon Appetit magazine's Restaurateur of the Year in 2001. The chef was also among People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.
English is the chef and owner of the Mediterranean restaurant Olives, which he opened in 1989 in Charlestown, Mass. The restaurant was named Best New Restaurant in Boston Magazine, and still receives much critical acclaim as Zagat's Boston's Number One Favorite Restaurant. Olives soon opened in New York, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Aspen, Colo. and Biloxi. His other restaurants include the Italian restaurant Figs in Boston and New York, Tuscany in Conn., the steakhouse Bonfire in Boston, the seafood restaurants Kingfish Hall in Boston and Fish Club in Seattle, and the French restaurant Riche in New Orleans.
English has also appeared on a number of television shows and starred in Cooking under Fire and Food Trip, a 13-episode travel and cooking series on PBS. The well-known chef also wrote the cookbooks The Olives Table, The Figs Table and The Olives Dessert Table.
After working in a Portuguese bakery during his high school career, Emeril Lagasse graduated from the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University. He spent time in Paris and Lyon to learn the skills of traditional French cuisine and ended up in New Orleans as the executive chef for almost eight years at the well-known restaurant Commander's Palace. Today, Lagasse is the owner of ten restaurants in New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta and Gulfport, Miss.
Lagasse has received copious awards and recognitions over the years for his establishments and culinary talents. In 1990, Esquire magazine named Emeril's Restaurant in New Orleans "Restaurant of the Year." Zagat called Lagasse's Emeril's New Orleans Fish House the "Best Restaurant in Las Vegas." In 2004, his Las Vegas restaurant Delmonico Steakhouse was awarded the Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. He was honored the "Best Southeast Regional Chef" award by the James Beard Foundation in 1991, and GQ magazine chose Lagasse as "Chef of the Year" in 1998. He was also awarded "Executive of the Year" by Restaurants & Institutions magazine in 2004. More recently, he was inducted into the Nation's Restaurant News' MenuMasters Hall of Fame in 2006 and in 2007 honored as "Restaurateur of the Year" by New Orleans CityBusiness.
Having joined the Food Network in 1993, Lagasse hosts the award-winning cooking shows Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live. His style of contemporary New Orleans and Creole cuisine can be found in his twelve different cookbooks, as well.
Bobby Flay got his start in the culinary world at age 17, working as a cook. He attended The French Culinary Institute, graduated in 1993 with the first "Outstanding Graduate Award" and is now FCI's Master Instructor. Flay's first restaurant, Mesa Grill, which opened in 1991, features his form of American southwestern cuisine. It was recognized as "Best Restaurant 1992" by New York Magazine. Bolo Restaurant and Bar opened in 1993, and so did Bar American in 2005. Bobby Flay Steak, his first steakhouse, opened in 2006, and less than a year later Mesa Grill Bahamas took off.
Flay, who received the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year award in 1993, also leads a life in the media. Of his six acclaimed cookbooks, his first one, Bobby Flay's Bold American Food, won the International Association for Culinary Professionals honor for design. His Oscar-winning show Boy Meets Grill appears on the Food Network, as well as Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and he is also a regular on The Early Show on CBS as the Food Correspondent.
Most know Gordon Ramsay as the host of the UK's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and U.S.'s Hell's Kitchen. But Ramsay has accomplished much more than hosting television shows.
Born in Scotland and raised in England, the chef trained under Marco Pierre White and Albert Roux. In 1998, Ramsay, 31 at the time, opened his first independently-owned restaurant named Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea. Now, a little over 10 years later, Ramsay owns restaurants in the U.S., England, Tokyo, Ireland, Prague and France.
His line of cookbooks include: Passion for Flavour (1996), Passion for Seafood (1999), A Chef for all Seasons (2000), Just Desserts (2001), Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy (2005), Gordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch (2006), Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food (2007) and Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite (2008).
Ramsay has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Michelin star for his restaurants and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the International Emmy for his TV shows. In 2008, Ramsay also bought the Tante Marie Cookery School, the largest independent Cordon Bleu school in England.
Under the advice of her mentor, Julia Child, Cat Cora started her culinary training at The Culinary Institute of America in New York. While in New York, she apprenticed and worked with Anne Rozenweig and Larry Forgione. She then moved to Europe, where she apprenticed with French chefs George Blanc and Roger Verge. Upon returning to the United States, Cora served as Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa Valley, California.
Cora made her television debut in 1999 as a Food Network co-host of Melting Pot with Rocco di Spirito. After subsequent various hosting stints, Cora became in 2005 the first and only female chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America.
In November 2008, Bon Appetit Magazine awarded her Teacher of the Year, and she serves as Executive Chef of the magazine. She came out with two cookbooks, entitled Cat Cora's Kitchen and Cooking from the Hip, which feature recipes reflecting her Greek and Southern roots. She is currently planning her signature restaurant.
Cora is also a part of Macy's Culinary Council, which is made up of 15 leading chefs around the world. She serves as President and Cofounder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization founded after the Asian tsunami tragedy in 2004, and is the nutritional spokesperson for UNICEF.
The Culinary Institute of America
Founded in 1946, the Culinary Institute of America has campuses in Hyde Park, NY and St. Helena, Calif. The Institute boasts over 130 chefs and instructors from 16 countries, and Reader's Digest dubbed the CIA the "Best Cooking School in America." Students can receive a Bachelor's or Associate Degree in either Culinary Arts Management or Bakery and Pastry Arts Management, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The only requirement for a Bachelor's Degree is a high school diploma. Courses allow for an extensive range, including: Banqueting and Catering, Contemporary Cakes and Desserts, Cuisines of Asia, Cuisines of Europe and the Mediterranean, Cuisines of the Americas, Economics, Food and Culture, Introduction to Management, Nutrition, Professional Food Writing, Specialty Breads and Wines and Beverages. A special part of the 38-month Bachelor's Degree program is the externship, in which students work in a salaried position for 18 to 21 weeks in one of over 1,000 cooperating establishments. Famous alums include Todd English, Cat Cora and En-Ming Hsu.
The French Culinary Institute
Located in the middle of SoHo in New York City, the French Culinary Institute offers students a way to learn traditional French culinary techniques and apply it to American culture. The FCI, founded in 1984, provides an intense six-month long program (and nine-month long one for those enrolled under the night school) under the Total Immersion curriculum. The 12:1 ratio of students to staff creates for a very personal, one-on-one experience. While the tuition is pretty pricey, the prestige is definitely present, with renowned deans such as Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres and Alan Richman. Famous chef and FCI alum Bobby Flay is also seen sometimes stopping by the Institute. Degrees available are for Classic Culinary Arts and Classic Pastry Arts. The FCI also provides "Amateur Courses," or classes anywhere from two to twenty-two sessions, including those in the Culinary; Pastry; Bread and Wine, Beer and Food Pairings categories. The Institute even presents the eight-week long course, "The Art of International Bread Baking," as well as advanced studies in Business Development, Wine Studies and Food Technology.
Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America
One of the world's most prestigious Parisian culinary schools offers programs in North America, teaching "classical French techniques with innovative American technology." The culinary training programs are provided in the areas of Culinary Arts, Patisserie & Baking Arts and Hospitality & Restaurant Management. The Cordon Bleu Program is offered in the following cities nationwide: Scottsdale, AZ; Pasadena CA; San Francisco, CA; Miramar, FL; Orlando, FL; Tucker, GA; Chicago, IL; Cambridge, MA; St. Peters, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Las Vegas, NV; Portland, OR; Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX.
Institute of Culinary Education
Located in New York City, the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) was founded in 1975 by Peter Kump. Students enroll in training programs that last from six to 11 months, specializing in the culinary arts, pastry and baking or culinary management. The Institute even provides housing for its students. ICE is also the nation's largest program of practical recreational cooking, baking and wine courses (check out the extensive list of classes here. ICE was awarded numerous highly-esteemed awards, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Awards of Excellence for Culinary Schools. Its students and alumni have also won industry awards such as the James Beard Awards.
United Fresh Produce Association
The United Fresh Produce Association is the product of a merger in 2006 between the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the International and Fresh-cut Association. The former, founded in 1904, worked as a national trade association that supported produce businesses and their partners at each level from production to distribution. The latter group was founded in 1987 and stood for the fresh-cut produce industry.
There are five different member categories: Regular, Customer, Associate, Allied Organization and University/Government Member. Regular members consist of those who are essential in the field-to-market level. Customer members are retail and foodservice operators. Associate members are those who help with the processing, packaging and transportation of products and equipment. Allied Organization members include produce industry organizations and other similar groups, and the University/Government members are individuals working at a university or government association with a concentration in the produce industry.
American Meat Institute
Known as the country's oldest and largest meat and poultry trade association, the American Meat Institute was founded in 1906. Past achievements of the AMI include a headquarters move from Chicago to Washington, D.C., in 1979 to be closer to the federal government and establish a greater focus on public policy, a larger presence in scientific research and industry education in 1991, and the Food Safety Initiative in 1999 with the objective of removing Listeria monocytogenes and E.coli from meat and poultry goods.
AMI represents 1,100 members, or businesses involved in the meat and poultry industry. Members benefit from legislative and regulatory updates and analyses, up-to-date information about scientific research, educational seminars, increases in market shares, and various discounts.
American Farm Bureau Federation
The American Farm Bureau Federation is an independent, voluntary grassroots association that helps fight for farmers' rights in economic, educational and social advancement and opportunities. Started in 1919 by a small group of farmers, the AFBF prides itself in being known as the "voice of agriculture." Its main goal is to create a more profitable agricultural economy while improving the rural communities in which farmers, ranchers and their families live.
Programs within the AFBF appeal to all aspects of farming communities, include the Women's Committee, Young Farmer and Rancher Program, Harvest for All, Foundation for Agriculture - Agricultural Development Department, Education about Agriculture, Country Activities of Excellence and Farmer Idea Exchange.
Sustainable Harvest International
Former Peace Corps member Florence Reed established Sustainable Harvest International in 1997 as a way to deal with the tropical deforestation in Central America. The organization's mission is to offer sustainable options to farmers, many of whom are aware of the devastating effects from the exploitation of land and would like to learn new techniques to help protect natural habitats and create a healthier environment for the future.
American Dietetic Association
Lenna F. Cooper and Lulu C. Graves spearheaded the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in 1917 in order to lend a hand to the government in conserving food and bettering the public's health and nutrition during World War I. Today, the ADA is the world's leading organization of food and nutrition professionals. According to the Web site, "ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy."
The breakdown of ADA's nearly 70,000 members is as follows: 75% are registered dietitians (RDs), 4% are registered dietetic technicians (DTRs), and the rest include consultants, educators, researchers and students.