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Internationally Acclaimed Chef and Restaurateur, Widjiono “Yono” Purnomo to Receive Honorary Degree at SUNY Cobleskill’s 102nd Commencement

SUNY Cobleskill will award renowned chef and restaurateur Widjiono “Yono” Purnomo an honorary SUNY Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) at the College’s 102nd Commencement on Saturday, May 9.

In 1971 Chef Widjiono “Yono” Purnomo, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia, embarked on his culinary career aboard the SS Rotterdam, flagship of the Holland America Cruise Lines. Chef Purnomo learned from the culinary world’s best and credits Certified Master Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt, former Dean of the Culinary Institute of America, for instilling within him the credo “to cook with your head, your heart and your hands” and to always willingly share his expertise. He and his restaurants have earned international acclaim and he has been featured on the Food Network, the Today Show, served as a judge on Iron Chef Indonesia, and presented sold-out events at the famed James Beard House in New York City, the “Carnegie Hall of the culinary world.”

“I firmly believe that education is the key to growth and enrichment,” says Chef Purnomo. Yono’s Scholarship Foundation has made a commitment to fund scholarships for deserving students who show promise and talent in the culinary arts at SUNY Cobleskill, and other institutions including his alma-mater in Indonesia.

“We are inspired and grateful for Chef Purnomo’s commitment to the education of our next generation of distinguished chefs, and believe it is time to recognize his contribution to our community,” says SUNY Cobleskill President Marion A. Terenzio. “He plays a vital and continuing role in supporting regional agriculture, one of New York State’s most important economic sectors, through his locally-focused business practices and activities.”

Yono’s Restaurant in Albany, New York, has been named one of the 100 most romantic restaurants in the United States by both OpenTable and Travel & Leisure. Amongst his many accomplishments, Chef Purnomo has captained the USA team in the British Open Cookery Championship, and led the New York State Culinary Team to London for “La Parade des Chefs”, where the team garnered an international medal. The chef and his restaurants have earned Gold and Silver Medals from the American Culinary Federation, the Medal of Honor from both Les Amis D’Escoffier and Chaine des Rôtisseurs, and the National Restaurant Association’s “Faces of Diversity – The American Dream” award. Chef Purnomo has been a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for more than 30 years and currently serves as a Regional officer: Culinaire Conseiller Provincial, NE.

In the Upstate New York region, Chef Purnomo has leveraged this success to support agricultural industry growth through local product sourcing, and has given a lifetime of service in our region’s advisory boards and philanthropic organizations.


This release was initially published by SUNY Cobleskill, 02/17/20

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