ICE Alum Gina DePalma Wins James Beard Award

NEW YORK, May 5, 2009 — The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE®) today celebrates its women in food by recognizing 2009 James Beard Foundation Award winner Gina DePalma as this year’s Outstanding Pastry Chef. DePalma, a 1994 ICE alum won the prestigious honor during last night’s awards at Lincoln Center in New York City. The Awards, established in 1990, recognize the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry.

DePalma has been the pastry chef at Babbo, Chef Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant, since 1998. Prior to that, Gina held positions at Gramercy Tavern and the Cub Room. As a chef-writer, DePalma contributed the dessert chapter to The Babbo Cookbook and in 2007, wrote her own book, Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. In 2009, she was named one of the Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America by Pastry Art and Design magazine.

ICE also recognizes its James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalists including Rachel Yang, Joule, Seattle in the Rising Star Chef category and Kendal Duque, Sepia, Chicago in the Best Chef, Great Lakes Region category. “We at ICE are extremely proud of our recognized alumni and were beyond thrilled to watch Gina DePalma accept the Outstanding Pastry Chef award, “ said Rick Smilow, ICE President. “In the last 11 years, three of the Outstanding Pastry Chef winners have been ICE alumni also including Claudia Fleming (2000) and Stephen Durfee (1998).”

The celebration of “Women in Food” at the Awards also included ICE alum Missy Robbins of A Voce who presented Terrina di Polpo or thinly sliced octopus terrine with alfonso olives, orange and calabrian chilies at the Gala Reception. ICE supported the all-star line up of female chefs, winemakers, mixologists and sommeliers by providing 50 students to assist with preparation and plating at the Gala Reception that followed the awards.