June 9, 2021

Alumni in the News: May 2021


CIA Alumni in the News: May 2021CIA alumni are always cooking up something interesting, and with a network more than 50,000 strong, there’s never a shortage of highlights! Here are just a few examples of CIA alumni in the news this past month.

Openings and Chefs on the Move

Dominick Dardano ’93 finally pursued his dream of owning a food truck after years working in, and owning, high-end restaurants in Cape Cod and New York’s Finger Lakes region. When COVID-19 hit, he opened Two Guys Kitchen & Catering, a food truck with a full menu located outside his Bistro 11 restaurant in Victor, NY, where visitors can get a quick bite to eat.
Read the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle article >

Camille Cogswell ’13, the 2018 James Beard Rising Star Chef award winner, and her fiancé, Andrew DiTomo ’13, are opening Walnut Family Bakery—a retail bakery—in Marshall, NC later this year. The couple purchased the historic home and its handcrafted ovens built by Alan Scott, from Jennifer Lapidus, Scott’s one-time apprentice. The move marks a big lifestyle change for the two, who met while attending the CIA, and had been living and working in Philadelphia.
Read the Fortune article >

Jose Gomez ’95 has been appointed executive chef at the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and Spa in Castries, St. Lucia, where he will spearhead the resorts new farm to table initiative.
Read the announcement on HospitalityNet >

After launching Little Red Window in during the pandemic, when takeout was the only option, Adam Rosenblum ’03 and his business partner, Elmer Mejicanos, are finally able to open Red Window, a full-service Spanish tapas restaurant in North Beach, CA.
Read the Jewish News of Northern California article >

Selina Progar ’12, former executive pastry chef at Altius and head pastry chef at La Gourmandine, is moving on to her next challenge—gluten-free baking at Gluten Free Goat Bakery in Pittsburgh, PA.
Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article >

Jonathan Benno ’93, who helped Per Se New York earn three Michelin stars and later earned a Michelin star at his namesake restaurant Benno and at Lincoln in New York, is now chef/partner at Café Leonelli in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in Houston, TX. In this “Chef’s Corner” column, he discusses what brought him to Houston and the Houston dining scene and shares his favorite recipe: Grandmother’s Eggplant Parmigiana.
Read The Buzz Magazines’ article >

Dennis Lake ’98, owner of La Taqueria in Greenwich, CT, is planning to open a second location of the fast casual restaurant in Darien, CT. If approved by the planning board, the restaurant would be one of the few good, quick takeout options available to the Darien community.
Read the Westport News article >

Mitchell Madoff ’96, former vice president of exclusive brands at Whole Food Market, is stepping into the role of senior vice president of private label and supply chain at Foxtrot, a Chicago-based chain of corner stores and cafés. He will work alongside Tae Strain, corporate executive chef, to develop Foxtrot’s private label of prepared foods.
Read the Supermarket News article >

Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel ’08 and Arjav Ezekiel are opening Birdie’s in Austin, TX, an approachable neighborhood restaurant and wine bar. Pre-COVID-19, when the couple signed the lease on the space, they had envisioned a fine-dining restaurant, but were inspired by the community to create something more casual.
Read the Eater Austin article >

On the Shelf and On the Menu

Gregory Gourdet ’00, a former cheftestant and current judge on Top Chef, released his first cookbook. Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, on May 11. The book focuses on globally inspired healthy recipes.
Read the Portland Monthly article >

Pano Karatassos ’96, executive chef at Kyma in Atlanta, GA, debuted his signature line of specialty cooking products from Greece, including olives, olive oil, honey, and more—at the virtual Natural Products West Expo. The products are available at popular online retailers and through Chef’s website.
Read the press release >

Rubio’s Coastal Grill, a fast-casual Tex-Mex chain based in California, is collaborating with Richard Blais ’98 on its latest street taco offerings to help make new, elevated flavors accessible to the average Rubio’s diner. There are three new tacos that will be available as part of the collab.
Read the article >

Food Business News spotlights innovation in the gluten-free food sector, including products from Mikey’s, founded by Michael Tierney ’10, that provide healthier gluten-free options without fillers, artificial ingredients, and preservatives.
Read the Food Business News article >

Changing the Narrative

Paula de Pano ’10 is featured in Wine Enthusiast’s article about Filipino-American sommeliers who are changing the narrative of wine in Filipino culture. She discusses how she sees her differences as an advantage in the beverage industry.
Read the Wine Enthusiast article >

Crystalla Huang ’13, brewmaster at RedDot Brew House in Singapore, has become Singapore’s first and only certified female brewmaster. This Channel News Asia article focuses on her career in beer, and how she is challenging industry stereotypes.
Read the Channel News Asia article >

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, SevenFifty Daily released their list of the top 12 AAPI drink innovators in the beverage industry, including Paula De Pano ’10 for her work in creating a New York City-worthy beverage program at The Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC.
Read the SevenFifty Daily article >

Fostering Community in and Outside the Kitchen

As part of its series on lessons from influential taste makers, Thrive Global interviewed Hunter Evans ’14, chef-owner of Elvie’s in Jackson, MS, about his journey and shares five things he wishes he knew before becoming a chef and restaurateur.
Read the Thrive Global article >

Chaya Conrad ’93, owner of Bywater Bakery in New Orleans, LA, is featured with her husband, Alton Osbourne, for the work the bakery is doing to bring the community together through the addition of an art gallery with local artists, a place to see live music, and more.
Read the article >

Origin Stories

Johanne Siy ’12, head chef at Lolla in Singapore, gets nostalgic sharing the dishes and food memories that helped shape her cooking style.
Read the Singapore Tatler article >