Dorothy Cann Hamilton Founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center, what a loss. This morning I woke up like I usually do. I flipped through all of the eventful things that my social media connections did through out the night. My heart sunk when I came across a 5 day old status of one of the many chefs that I admire on Instagram. The post had the great picture of Hamilton in that “sugar sharp, smart” kelly green jacket paying respect to her memory. That photo was the first photo that introduced me to Ms. Hamilton last year, when I began my journey of discovering my passion.
March of 2015 I began the process of competing to be a student at The International Culinary Center, on The Rachael Ray Show. One of the tasks that I had to complete was write my admissions essay on why I wanted to attend culinary school, why ICC specifically, and finally what I wanted to do as a graduate of The International Culinary Institute. That essay made me really sit in this and contemplate, but also research. Part of my research to understand what ICC could offer me, brought me to the website. The ICC website was where my dreams turned into reality. I researched ICC years prior as The French Culinary Institute, but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the love for cooking then like I do now. I think I even attended an open house years ago. Anyway, as I was researching why I should be admitted to ICC now, I came across Chef’s Story, a podcast on the website.
Chef’s Story was a one on one interview of a successful chef interviewed by a very knowledgable, food power hustler named Dorothy Cann Hamilton. I’m not sure how I figured out that the voice was the Founder and CEO of this amazing school that I could see myself stepping into my purpose in. By listening to these interviews that Dorothy led, it allowed each chef to step listeners thru how they discovered their passion for food. The weekend that I prepared my essay I must have listened to 30 interviews as I sat on my couch trying to find the perfect words to describe how much I was sure of my desire to cook, and to learn at ICC. Listening to the interviews that Dorothy held with many chefs that I admire, and some that I hadn’t heard of but began following, allowed me, the listener to get to know that she was friendly, warm, funny, very well travelled, highly creative and didn’t let much stop her from building one of the best culinary schools in the US. I also learned that she didn’t mind a little foul language from the chefs that stopped by to tell their stories, so she was no prude.
When I was selected as a finalist, I knew that my time listening to Chef’s Story after Chef’s Story that weekend helped me to understand the possibilities and to brighten my passion to cook and attend ICC. When I didn’t win the competition, I was not really sad, because the entire process allowed me to understand my purpose. I was and am so sure that I will attend ICC that after not winning the competition on the show I connected with Dorothy Cann Hamilton on LinkedIn, just because I knew she would know me eventually.
The culinary world has certainly gained an angel, and even though I never met her or even stood in the same room as her, as an admirer of her entrepreneurial endeavor of The International Culinary Center, and her love of life and learning, I will miss hearing her voice on new episodes of Chef’s Story on Heritage Radio. And the loss of this culinary icon speaks to the need for everyone and anyone to live for today, and when you identify your purpose in this life, do everything and anything you can to live in that purpose, because Dorothy did.