The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Alumni Council will host the 6th Annual “Run for Your Knives” 5K set for Oct. 22 on Homecoming Weekend. The run will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the racecourse will wind through the streets of the CIA campus.
Started in 2010 by CIA graduates “Panini Pete” Blohme and Robert Kabakoff, the purpose of the event is two-fold — to raise awareness among student culinary professionals about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and to provide scholarships to CIA students.
“I personally feel that the health and wellness platform needs to happen sooner rather than later in our industry,” said Kabakoff. “We need to help those of us in the restaurant industry understand how being on our feet all day long every day, and not being in great shape, affects our quality of life down the road. I know too many of my colleagues who have new hips and knees as result of years spent in this business.”
Kabakoff started running at age 42 and has completed marathons in Chicago, Boston and New York.
“Running not only keeps me in shape, but it clears my head and opens my mind so that I actually create recipes while I run.”
Last year, the alumni council awarded $50,000 in scholarships directly to students to help with tuition and student loans. Not only do race winners receive an award, but all students who are present at the race are eligible to receive a cash scholarship through random drawings by the donors.
Chef Pete Blohme said the money impacts the students immediately by helping them financially and allowing them to stay focused on school.
“And it’s not just the scholarship recipients who benefit,” said Blohme. “All the students gain so much from the networking opportunity they have by running alongside alumni which frequently results in mentorship and even employment.”
Mobile, Ala., native Sarah Lubitz graduated this past March from CIA and now works as a line cook for James Beard Award-Winning Chef Alon Shaya at his modern Israeli restaurant “Shaya” in New Orleans. Lubitz served as a volunteer for last year’s race and was awarded the $1,500 Bossman Leadership Scholarship given in honor of the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin, co-owner of the iconic “Hodad’s” in Ocean Beach.
“Run for your Knives is a great way for students to get involved while they’re on campus, and the hope is that it becomes something that will bring them back even after they graduate,” said Lubitz.
Lubitz says she has made plans to fly up on her own dime to help with the race this fall.
According to race organizers, attendance has been increasing exponentially every year with 285 participants last year.
“As alumni, we hope to instill the message in students of the importance of giving back,” Kabakoff said. “One of my favorite stories from Run for your Knives is when one of the students who was already on the GI Bill gave away his $5,000 scholarship to his roommate who was about to be expelled because of lack of funds. Now that is paying it forward.”
This year’s run will be a “Day of the Dead” theme, and includes a one-mile fun walk, face painting, and hot chocolate.
Students are free and registration for alumni or other participants is $30.
For more information on participating or about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.runforyourknives.com .