Adam Altnether ’07, Executive Chef
The Fast Track to Success
One look at Adam Altnether’s accelerated career track, and it’s easy to see why he’s been honored by Forbes magazine as part of its 2014 “30 Under 30” list in the Food category. As the corporate chef and minority partner of Craft Restaurants in St. Louis, he’s come far, fast.
Adam was first exposed to the art of cooking at the age of 15, watching his father and stepmother preparing family meals at home. During his junior year in high school, he signed up for a program that allowed him to spend a month at The Culinary Institute of America, and he fell in love with the college. He obsessed about the place all through his senior year, and knew that’s where he had to go.
It was worth the wait. “I think The Culinary Institute of America’s emphasis on work ethic and strong fundamentals definitely helped me excel at every position I’ve ever held,” he says. “This award (from Forbes) also solidified in my mind how important the bachelor’s program at the CIA has been for me.”
Important indeed. After graduation, Adam landed his first job as a prep cook at Niche, one of the properties in the Craft Restaurant Group. He quickly rose through the ranks at Craft, becoming Niche’s chef de cuisine by age 22, and then executive chef at Brasserie. He has spearheaded the expansion of Pastaria, the group’s Italian restaurant, and today shares responsibilities as executive chef and owner of the entire dining empire with his mentor, Gerard Craft. The business partners have traveled the world to explore different cultures and cuisines to inspire their restaurants.
His honor from Forbes is a fitting tribute to all these efforts. “Being selected for the ‘30 Under 30’ list is a testament to what hard work and dedication can help you achieve,” he says. “Working your hardest, day in and day out, is what allows you to accomplish every goal you set for yourself.”
Adam is quick to credit his colleagues at Craft as well. “You can never do something like this alone,” he explains. “All of these accomplishments are a direct result of building great teams, and we have been lucky enough to build amazing teams so far.”
And he’s ever-grateful for the amazing education he received from the CIA. “It definitely laid the groundwork in my mind to allow us to be able to expand in the way we have done.”
In March 2015, after nearly eight years, Adam made the difficult decision to step away from the Craft Restaurant Group and is not longer a shareholder. “I want to take some time off and relax for a little bit,” Adam says. “I’ve been going 100 miles per hour for awhile now and sometimes it’s just time for a change in scenery.” Gerard Craft said of his parting, “Adam has been a valued member of the team for many years, and we are proud of the work that we were able to accomplish together. We’re excited to see what’s next for him.”
For now, Adam is taking that well needed break, traveling, eating, and planning his next move, which he hopes will be in his hometown of St. Louis.