Thursday, March 19, 2009

Outstanding Alumni Award Winners

The voting for the 2008 FCI Outstanding Alumni Awards has ended and the results have been tallied. All the nominees were tremendous candidates with amazing achievements and the voting was very close.

The winners of the 2008 FCI Outstanding Alumni Awards are:

Outstanding Culinary Award: Tyler Kord

Tyler Kord is the Owner and Chef of No. 7 in Brooklyn. After graduating from the FCI in 2002, Tyler stayed on at The FCI and worked as a Sous Chef in the a la carte kitchen for Alain Sailhac and Patrick Farrel. He then went on to work for Jean Georges Vongerichten at Perry Street, for 2 years, as Sous Chef. Tyler has recently opened a restaurant in Ft. Greene Brooklyn called No. 7. The restaurant serves contemporary new American cuisine in a casual setting. Tyler supports The FCI in his kitchen by hiring grads.

Outstanding Pastry Award: Michael Zebrowski

Michael Zebrowski is the Executive Pastry Chef at The Westin Governor Morris Hotel. After working with Chef Thomas Ciszak at The Manor in New Jersey, Michael Zebrowski went on to work with two of New York's top chefs: David Bouley and Daniel Boulud. Finding the need to broaden his culinary horizons, Chef Zebrowski went to work at The Pierre Hotel where he learned the fine art of producing and serving high end desserts for large extravagant banquet events, often serving heads of state, dignitaries, and celebrities. Zebrowski then traveled to France to intern at 3 Michelin star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens. Chef Zebrowski is now responsible for the overall management of the pastry department at The Westin Hotel in Morristown as well as the Copeland restaurant which has received 3½ stars from the New Jersey Star Ledger.

Outstanding Achievement Award: Robert Bleifer

Robert Bleifer is Executive Chef of Culinary Productions at Food Network Robert worked as a freelance photographer after graduating with a MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Bleifer realized his true love was food and moved to New York City. Once he completed his studies at The FCI in 1994, Bleifer worked as a line cook at Park Avenue Café for a year. Bleifer took a freelance job at Food Network and worked his way up to Executive Chef where he now oversees in-house food production, location production, photo shoots, vignettes, and food for over 75 Food Network events annually.

Outstanding Management Award: Dan Rafalin

Dan Rafalin is Principal Partner of AvroKo Restaurant Group. Dan has been immersed in the culinary world from the beginning of his career when he graduated from The FCI in 1996. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Food Management from New York University and worked as the financial and business analyst for the Clark Wolf Company, a New York based food, restaurant and hospitality consulting firm before joining forces with AvroKO. Dan Rafalin oversees operation of the AvroKo group's four New York City restaurants - PUBLIC, The Monday Room, Double Crown and Madam Geneva. Dan has helped garner a wide array of awards and accolades for the restaurants, including a coveted Michelin star for PUBLIC and two stars from The New York Times for AvroKO's newest restaurant Double Crown.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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