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He's the Chicago Tribune's 2014 Chef of the Year. His restaurant, Grace, was rated Best Restaurant in the World in 2013 by the Robb Report. It holds a 5-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide and a 5-diamond rating from AAA.

And he got his start right here at Columbus State.

Curtis Duffy graduated from Columbus State's Culinary Apprenticeship program in 2000, then served under numerous top chefs before opening Grace in 2012. Chef James Taylor, who was one of his professors at Columbus State, says Duffy took the time to build his skills before striking out on his own.

Duffy returned to Columbus State to be honored at Taste the Future, Columbus State's annual culinary benefit.

"It's nice to graduate and put in all that hard work and effort back into the field in the food and wine world, and then be able to come back and celebrate in the roots where you come from," Duffy said.

The Culinary Apprenticeship program provides a pipeline of talent for the local scene. Grads can be found in Central Ohio's best restaurants, including many in the Cameron Mitchell organization. Culinary Apprenticeship students study full-time while holding down a job in the industry, ensuring a double helping of hands-on learning.