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Providence’s Michael Cimarusti delivers commencement at CIA

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Providence chef Michael Cimarusti returned to his old stamping grounds at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., last week, but it wasn’t a simple exercise in nostalgia. He was delivering the commencement address for graduating students. Cimarusti and his wife, Crisi Echiverri, are both 1991 graduates of the school.

Cimarusti says he tried to impress upon the graduates that their culinary education was, in reality, just beginning. ‘I talked about professionalism and about how their specialized training has prepared them to go out and be successful, but that’s not the whole equation. Just like any other profession, you have to go out and refine and hone the tools you’ve been given. You have to work at it to get better.’

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After graduating, Cimarusti went on to work at several top restaurants, both in the the U.S. and in France, including Le Cirque, Paul Bocuse and Arpège. In Los Angeles, he first made his mark at Water Grill downtown, before opening Providence in 2005.

‘I talked little bit about what I think is essential to be successful in this industry: hard work, dedication, travel,’ he says. ‘I talked a lot about travel, and how important that is. Working in other people’s kitchens, you see how other people organize things and the culture in their kitchens. That’s always an eye-opener for me. To see how someone has a completely diferent approach to doing what is essentially the same work.’

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-- Russ Parsons


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