The recipients of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Awards of Excellence were announced on Saturday, April 24 during the 26th annual conference of the IACP in Baltimore, Maryland at the Baltimore Convention Center.The award for outstanding Vocational Cooking School was given to The New England Culinary Institute (NECI), located in Montpelier, Vermont, an IACP-member cooking school that provides a superior educational experience for students pursuing a career in the culinary industry. NECI offers an AOS in Culinary Arts, AOS in Food and Beverage Management, AOS in Baking and Pastry, BA in Food and Beverage Management and Certificate Programs in both Baking and Pastry and Basic Cooking.New England Culinary Institute has been training future chefs and food and beverage professionals since 1980. The award was given in recognition of the outstanding education the schools provides, including one of the smallest student to teacher ratios in the industry. In addition, students learn their skills in eleven food service operations, including bakeries, popular priced restaurants, fine dining restaurants cafeteria and catering. Students spend 75% of their time working with chefs to produce meals for paying customers.The NECI educational model is ‘standards based” which means students are not graded on their culinary skills or knowledge, but rather they have to meet or exceed a standard of competency in each and every skill. This ensures that they leave for their internship with a strong culinary competence and understanding.Alton Brown, ’97 graduate of NECI and creator of Good Eats on the Food Network, says, “ With an education from NECI, you have the benefits of both the ‘real world’ education and NECI’s strong reputation in the industry. You are prepared to follow your dreams.”Founded in 1978, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has approximately 4,000 members worldwide, representing a “who’s who” in the world of food and include cooking teachers and cooking school owners; caterers, chefs and restaurateurs; food writers and cookbook authors; editors and publishers of the world’s consumer and trade press; food stylists and photographers; vintners; television personalities; recipe developers and many others with a special interest in the culinary arts. This unique, diverse membership sets trends, shapes opinion and influences buying habits of millions of consumers.