JWU Celebrates 50 Years of Culinary Education

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Oct 26, 2023 9:00 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — October 26, 2023 – On September 29, 2023, Johnson & Wales University celebrated fifty years of excellence in culinary education with a gala on the university’s Harborside Campus in Providence. The evening’s highlights included a ceremony recognizing the life and work of food icon Jacques Pépin ’10 Hon., the gala’s special guest.

During the ceremony, JWU College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT) Dean Jason Evans, Ph.D. unveiled a sculpted bronze bust of Chef Pépin created by renowned artist Zenos Frudakis and gifted to JWU by the Jacques Pépin Foundation. The sculpture’s inscription reads, “We are all equal in the eyes of the stove.” Dean Evans described the artwork as symbolic of the two organizations’ “shared mission around food education as a vehicle to personal and professional fulfillment.” Ultimately, the piece will be permanently displayed on campus in the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence (CCCE) Atrium.

JWU Chancellor Mim Runey, LP.D., summed up the evening’s significance: “The CFIT Gala was a true celebration of our roots and future in culinary arts. We were so pleased to honor Chef Jacques Pépin, whose original artwork, chef’s coat and latest book raised funds, with the silent auction items, for student scholarships and travel.”

Guests enjoyed fine cuisine prepared by alumni chefs and restaurateurs, current JWU faculty and students, and retired JWU faculty at food stations throughout the university’s unique Culinary Arts Museum. Among the prominent chefs hosting food and beverage stations were Champe Speidel '00, '16 Hon., of Persimmon; Matt Varga '05, of Gracie’s and Ellie’s; and Colleen Kranich '18 from Newport Vineyards.

Many high-profile food and media personalities were also in attendance, including Lorena Garcia ’00, ’14 Hon; Emeril Lagasse ’78, ’90 Hon; David Burke ’23 Hon.; Chris Cosentino ’94, as well as leaders from the food, beverage, and hospitality fields.

About JWU

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 8,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its campuses in Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts and sciences, business, engineering, food innovation, hospitality, nutrition, health and wellness. It also offers undergraduate programs in culinary arts, dietetics and design. JWU’s unique model provide students with the personalized attention, academic expertise and industry connections that inspire professional success and personal growth. The time students spend at JWU is nothing short of transformative, as demonstrated by career outcomes, expected earnings and economic mobility rankings. The university’s impact is global, with alumni in 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer McGee, Director of External Relations & Media Relations, , 202.427.5981