Dorothy Hamilton, founder and CEO of The French Culinary Institute, is the host of the new television series, Chef’s Story. She established The French Culinary Institute in 1984 in New York City. In October 2006, The International Culinary Center was inaugurated to serve as the umbrella organization for The FCI, the new Italian Studies program, as well as for the Continuing Education and Amateur Courses programs. Hamilton is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the James Beard Foundation. In addition, she is on the board of Abraham House in the Bronx, which offers programs that represent an alternative to incarceration for select members of the prison population.
Her distinguished career in vocational education and in creating innovative programs in gastronomy have earned her numerous tributes both in the United States and abroad. Included among the awards for her work in culinary education are the 2006 IACP Outstanding Vocational Cooking School award; Chevalier du Mérite Agricole (Agricultural Merit Award ) from the French government; an award by the Association Internationale des Maîtres Conseil dans la Gastronomie Française; the Outstanding American Educator award from Madrid Fusion, the Diplôme d’Honneur of the Vatel Club des États-Unis, and Dame de l’Année of the Académie Culinaire de France in 2006. In 2001, Hamilton received the prestigious Ordre National du Mérite (National Order of Merit Award) from the French government, a designation second only to the Légion d’ Honneur. Hamilton has also received the coveted Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine, recognizing her as a leader in the American restaurant community.
Elected Chairwoman of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), Hamilton was soon appointed Chairwoman emerita for life in 1994. She has also served on the advisory boards of many national and international organizations including the National Association of Training & Technical Schools; the International Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs; and the U.S. Department of Education. From 1972 to 1974 she served in the Peace Corps in Thailand, where she lectured at Mahidol University, Bangkok, and taught at various teacher-training colleges in Thailand.