Robert Kinsloe Bell ’87, Executive Chef
It’s clear that Robert Bell was destined to study at The Culinary Institute of America and become a chef. Not only was his uncle president of the National Restaurant Association, he was also a friend of Frances Roth, the visionary co-founder of the CIA.
Robert began his culinary career as a foodservice specialist in the U.S. Army. After his tour of duty, he came directly to the CIA. With diploma in hand, he began his rise up the culinary ranks from garde manger at Resorts International to executive chef at the Doublegate Country Club in Albany, GA. Today, he is the executive chef at Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro in Somers Point, NJ. Along the way he married, had four children, and served as an active member of the American Culinary Federation’s Memphis Chapter. His involvement included receiving the 2000 Chef of the Year Award, earning the 2002 Professionalism Award, and serving as the chapter’s president from 2002–2003. In addition he is an ACF-Certified Executive Chef.
Asked what he prized most about his time at the CIA and Robert mentions the competitiveness of his particular group. “We pushed each other to do better and try harder,” he says. Robert also recalls intense and wonderful interactions with his instructors, and the high standards they insisted upon. He was reminded of a day when his youthful exuberance got him in trouble with Chef Corky Clark in his American Regional Cuisines class. During preparation, Robert impulsively snatched a clam from the bouillabaisse pot and ate it. He was immediately banished from the room to watch through the kitchen window as his friends cooked and plated the dish. It might not seem like such a terrible offense, but in this case the kitchen anticipated plating eight servings from that pot, and Robert’s “theft” left one plate one clam shy. The lesson of self-discipline and dedication to the customer’s dining experience was one he learned well and has continued to impart to his staff over the years. Despite the “incident,” his affection for Chef Clark remains to this day!
When asked what incoming students should know about the CIA as they embark on their culinary careers, he emphatically states, “They are about to get the finest culinary education in the world. If they embrace the fundamentals of cooking taught, the degree will open doors for them.” Just like it did for Robert Bell, who took his CIA degree and made his own destiny.