CIA Grads In The News

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CIA Grads in the News

CIA alumni do some amazing things, so each month we’ll be sharing their stories from around the web. Check back often for the latest updates from our graduates!

June Headlines

Food & Wine Restaurants of the Year 2017

Grant Achatz ’94 and business partner Nick Kokonas are working on their third book, the Aviary Cocktail Book, however they are not following the standards of traditional publishing. As announced on Twitter, the team is raising funds via Kickstarter to self-publish the book. According to Kokonas it’s all about the economics of publishing. “Our goal was to bypass the middleman,” he says. As of June 1, 2017, the book has 3,640 backers and well surpassing the original goal of $50,000. Grant is also bringing the Aviary concept to New York City. The restaurant will open in the summer of 2017 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. His live-fire kitchen restaurant, Roister, was voted one of the 2017 Restaurants of the Year by Food & Wine magazine.

May Headlines

In Gloucester, Pasta for the People

Danielle Glantz ’10 is the executive chef and owner of Pastaio Via Corta in Gloucester, MA. The tiny shop’s name translates to “pasta maker on a short street.” True to the name, Danielle makes pasta by hand from local and regional flours and organic local eggs, producing 300 to 500 pounds a week. After graduating from the CIA, Danielle worked at Chez Panisse for four years before returning home to Gloucester. And although she works 12-hour days, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Instead of being a chef in a restaurant, I can service so many people in the community,” Danielle says.

Lon Symensma's Concourse Opens in Stapleton

Lon Symensma ’99, who has become a fixture in Denver, CO, with his popular restaurants ChoLon and Cho77, recently launched his own restaurant group, ChoLon Restaurant Concepts. The first project for the group is Concourse Restaurant Moderne, which opened in the beginning of May in the new Eastbridge Town Center in the Stapleton neighborhood. Luke Bergman ’02, who served as the executive sous chef at ChoLon, has partnered with Lon on Concourse and will serve as the executive chef there.

'Kelly Banks Cakes’ to hold grand opening Saturday

Kelly Ann Banks ’00 graduated with a degree in baking and pastry arts and quickly found work as a pastry chef for a caterer, an independent restaurant, and as a cake decorator at a bakery. When she and her husband Brian relocated to New Berlin, NY, Kelly took time to be at home with their three children. “While still being a mother and wife, I realized quickly I could do my own thing with baking,” says Kelly. “I started creating cakes and desserts for friends—many of whom I had met through catering— and my business seemed to take off.” In fact, business was so busy it was time for a brick and mortar store and Kelly Banks Cakes was born. As Kelly says, “If you can dream it, I can make it.”

N.R.A. Show exclusive: Looking at food differently to reduce waste

Jehangir Mehta ’95, executive chef and owner of Graffiti Earth restaurant in New York City, spoke to a packed audience at the 2017 National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago about sustainability and using every part of an ingredient to cut down on food waste. His vegetable-forward restaurant utilizes vegetable trimmings for soup and bruised fruit for jams or compotes. Any leftover ingredients are used to fill dumplings. “Great things never came from comfort zones,” Jehangir says. “You have to push yourself into looking at food differently and showcasing food waste in a different format. That is the new innovation.”

Love & Honey: That crunch of fried chicken beside the El

Laura Pickover Lyons ’95 and Todd Lyons ’08 are the husband and wife team behind Love & Honey Fried Chicken in Philadelphia, PA. Serving southern-inspired chicken, corn bread, and an ever-changing menu of sides and pies, the space features an open kitchen and 15 counter seats. Todd was a senior research and development chef at Campbell’s Soup and worked as a sous chef for Aramark at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Laura worked in consumer education and culinary marketing at Aramark, Le Cordon Blue, and her alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America.

Food-delivery startups shaking up Vegas, Phoenix

Brian Skenandore ’02 is one of the founding partners of Chefery, a meal delivery service located in Las Vegas, NV. Established in 2015, Chefery operates out of a commercial kitchen, which saves the expense of restaurant space or house staff enabling Chefery to recreate the fine dining experience for consumers at a fraction of the cost. “We wanted to give an elevated at-home delivery service,” says Brian. “We deliver par-cooked meals to customers’ homes that are 90 percent of the way cooked and that they can finish themselves either in the oven or microwave.”

The Mess Hall combines owner's military background, passion for food

Shawn Hardy ’09 and his wife Noelle are the owners of The Mess Hall in Averill Park, NY. Coming from a military family, the call to serve his country was as strong as Shawn’s love of cooking. When he enlisted in the Navy in 2002 as a mess specialist, Shawn was able to do both. Upon his discharge, and with the help of the GI Bill, Shawn attended the CIA. Their restaurant, The Mess Hall, is decorated like a military-style cafeteria and serves comfort food made with local ingredients. The restaurant is also serves as a place where veterans can come to share stories as they assimilate back into civilian life.

Michael Symon's Angeline at the Borgata

Michael Symon ’90 is the latest chef to test the waters in Atlantic City. Angeline—named after his mother Angel—is a classic Italian-American restaurant honoring the dishes Michael grew up enjoying at the family table. It includes his all-time favorite, lasagna. Michael’s wife Liz collaborated with New York-based firm Parts and Labor Design to create a “cozy yet upscale dining atmosphere with the nostalgic charm of Italian family gatherings.” Angeline joins Michael’s other establishments: Lola, Mabel’s BBQ, B Spot Burgers, Roast, Bar Symon, and Symon’s Burger Joint.

April Headlines

Anthony Bourdain’s New Travel Site ‘Explore Parts Unknown’ Will Kill Your Productivity

Anthony Bourdain ’78 recently launched a new website called Explore Parts Unknown, an online companion to his hit CNN series Parts Unknown. His latest cookbook, co-written with Laurie Woolever, is entitled Appetites: A Cookbook, published by his own Ecco line on October 25, 2016. Bourdain is editor-at-large for CNN’s Roads & Kingdoms website, an online travel and food publication, which just won the 2017 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for Publication of the Year.

Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes are planning to open a new Cosme in Los Angeles

Enrique Olvera ’99 has two restaurants named to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2017: Pujol in Mexico City is ranked at #20 and Cosme in New York City is listed at #40, jumping up the list from #96 last year. Daniela Soto-Innes, the 25-year-old chef de cuisine at Cosme, was the 2016 James Beard Foundation Rising Star of the Year. “Enrique taught me everything is possible,” Daniela says. “And to have fun while I’m working.” In March, the pair opened casual, all-day Atla and have plans to open an outpost of Cosme in Los Angeles in 2018.

LA Times Restaurant of The Year: Locol

Roy Choi ’98 and Daniel Patterson have opened the next iteration of their socially-conscious eatery LocoL with their LocoL Bakery in West Oakland, CA, just two miles down the road. The new space serves baked goods, salads, pizza, coffee, and green juice. LocoL’s original fast-food concept opened in the Watts section of Los Angeles in January 2016. That location was just named Best Restaurant of the Year by The Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. He writes that the choice for the inaugural award, “was inevitable—no restaurant in years may have made more of a difference than LocoL.” Later in 2016, Choi and Patterson debuted the LocoL food truck that operates in neighborhoods around LA, and a coffee company, Yes Plz, which supplies LocoL with high quality coffee that sells for one-dollar a cup.

Why One Chef Is Harvesting His Own Caviar

Matthew Accarino ’98, executive chef of acclaimed San Francisco restaurant SPQR, is known for direct sourcing and endeavors to play a role in growing and developing of many of his ingredients, including producing his own caviar. The delicacy appears regularly on the SPQR menu. Accarino realized the best way to produce the best caviar was to first know how to spot the right eggs. “Once you know what characteristics you want, you know what to look for when you biopsy the fish,” he says. “I’ve had my hands in the entire process and now I have a story for that ingredient whenever it’s used in the restaurant.”

Blue Apron Just Acquired Bill Niman’s Other Ranch

Matthew Wadiak ’99, co-founder and COO of Blue Apron, recently announced the acquisition of BN Ranch. Founded in 2007 by Bill Niman and is wife Nicolette, BN Ranch supplies sustainable, responsibly raised beef, lamb, and poultry. Niman will join the Blue Apron team as president and founder, BN Ranch, and will help the company further develop its animal welfare and husbandry standards, and expand its network of farmers, ranchers, and suppliers. BN Ranch has been supplying Blue Apron with grass-fed beef since 2015.

Cooking Up New Life in New York's Kitchens

Justin Fertitta ’04, is the chef-instructor of the Chef-in-Training program at the Doe Fund, a nonprofit based in New York City that provides transitional work, housing, and educational opportunities to people with histories of incarceration, homelessness, and substance abuse. The program is an extension of the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able transitional work program for residents at the Fund’s three facilities in Harlem and Brooklyn. Fertitta, who worked at the Waldorf Astoria and Aquavit, designed the curriculum based on his education and professional experience. “Everything I learned at the CIA is in our curriculum,” he says.

Chef Dale Talde’s NoMad Rooftop Bar Debuts With Detroit-Style Pizza, and More Intel

Dale Talde ’98 and his partners David Massoni and John Bush of the Three Kings Restaurant Group, own three successful iterations of Talde located in Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Miami. Also in Brooklyn is the sports bar Atlantic Social, right across the street from the Barclay Center. In Manhattan, the team has contributed to the Arlo NoMad Hotel with Massoni, BARlo, and the brand-new lounge, The Heights. The seasonal rooftop bar and patio features an affordable menu of Detroit-style pizza, salads, and sandwiches. The group will be handling all food and beverage at the new 50 Bowery Hotel set to open this June which includes the Asian-centric Rice & Gold on the ground floor, a rooftop bar and lounge, and the Green Lady, offering late night entertainment including live music. 

Sean Brock, David Chang, and Richard Melman Unite for 2017 Welcome Conference

Anthony Rudolf ’01, former general manager of Per Se, and Will Guidara, co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, recently announced the fourth annual Welcome Conference, which will be held on June 5, 2017 at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. The theme for this year’s conference is “conflict and change.” Created in 2014, the conference is an extension of Rudolf’s company Journee, a membership-based community working to improve the lives of restaurant professionals. Tickets went on sale April 12 and they are already sold out.