January 6, 2016

CIA Alumni in the News: Best of 2015

Best of 2015

Here are some exciting CIA alumni stories from 2015.


50 Best Restaurants

San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants

San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2015 includes 13—including all of the top five—approved externship locations where CIA students can complete their required field study between freshman and sophomore year. They are:

  1. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
  2. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
  3. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Central, Lima, Peru
  5. Eleven Madison Park, NYC
  6. Pujol, Mexico City
  7. Le Bernardin, NYC
  8. Le Chateaubriand, Paris
  9. Alinea, Chicago
  10. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
  11. Per Se, NYC
  12. Mani, São Paulo, Brazil
  13. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Two restaurants on the list, Pujol (Enrique Olvera ’97) and Alinea (Grant Achatz ’94), are owned by CIA alumni, and Eli Kaimeh ’00 runs the kitchen at Per Se.


James Beard 2

Six CIA Alumni won James Beard Awards

Chef & Restaurant Awards:

  • Andrew Chabot ’02, Outstanding Service: The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
  • Rajat Parr ’96, Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
  • Alon Shaya ’99, Best Chef: South
  • Stuart Brioza ’98, Best Chef: West

The Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards:

  • Nicolaus Balla ’02, Cookbook: Cooking from a Professional Point of View (Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes)
  • Anthony Bourdain ’78 (Best Television Program, On Location, (The Mind of a Chef)

View the complete list of winners here.


Kelvin Fernandez Bobby Flay

Kelvin Fernandez ’05 Wins Beat Bobby Flay

Kelvin Fernandez ’05 is the first Latino to “beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network series. Read the full story.


Eater Young Guns

Eater’s 2015 Young Guns Class

Three CIA alumni made Eater’s 2015 Young Guns class. Congrats to Joel Stocks ’07, Deuki Hong ’09, and Alex Levin ’12.


Fojtasek Nonas

Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs

Congrats to ‪CIA grads Michael Fojtasek ’10 & Grae Nonas ’08, partners at Olamaie.

They were named Best New Chefs by Food & Wine. Check out the full 2015 list.



CIA Grads Among Food & Wine’s People’s Choice Winners

Two ‪‎CIA grads were chosen as regional People’s Choice Best New Chefs. Ari Weiswasser ’03 of Glen Ellen Star earned the title for California. Eric Sakai ’04, who owns Restaurant Marron with his wife and fellow alumnus Zarina Sakai ‘05, won the title for the Northwest and Pacific region.


Ghost Hunters 3

Ghost Hunters

The CIA was featured on Ghost Hunters. Find out the history of ghosts at the CIA.


Enrique Olvera 1

CIA Grad Innovates Mexican Cuisine

Enrique Olvera ’99 is the face of modern Mexican cuisine, his restaurant Pujol is number 9 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2015, and he recently won a lifetime achievement award.



Top Chef

Five CIA alumni joined the cast of cheftestants for this year’s season of Top Chef on Bravo:

Kwame Onwuachi ’13

Garret Fleming ‘07

Amar Santana ‘02

Wesley True ‘03

Grayson Schmitz ’04



While still fresh from the CIA, Kwame has been getting a lot of buzz as the top contender.