January 5, 2017

CIA Grads are Rolling Stone “Rock Stars”

Rolling stone StarChefsHeader

According to a classic rock song, you know you’ve made it when you get your picture in “the Rolling Stone.” Four CIA alumni have definitely made it, being named Rolling Stone magazine’s Breakthrough Rock Star Chefs of 2016.

These CIA alumni—Kwame Onwuachi ’13, Abraham Conlon ’01, Roy Choi ’98, and JJ Johnson ’07 (Management)—have now achieved what Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show dreamed about in their former top-ten hit.

CIA student Kwame Onuwachi

  • After a successful run on Top Chef, Onwuachi opened his first restaurant this year. The article calls his Shaw Bijou in Washington, DC “the most hotly anticipated restaurant of the decade in the District.”


  • Conlon brought the Portuguese/Chinese cuisine of Macau to Chicago at Fat Rice, praised as “the most delicious argument for culinary diversity.” Conlon also recently wrote his first cookbook, The Adventures of Fat Rice.

CIA Grad, restauranteur and cookbook author Roy Choi lecturing students in DKT.

  • Choi made a name for himself as a food truck pioneer. He now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant, LocoL, bringing both jobs and high-quality food at affordable prices to underserved urban communities in California. “LocoL is making a long-term impact that goes beyond lunchtime,” said the Rolling Stone

Joseph 'JJ' Johnson

  • Johnson, a graduate of the CIA’s bachelor’s degree program in management, has brought the cuisines of the African Diaspora to New York City at The Cecil. The Harlem restaurant’s sign is “a beacon, letting passersby know that inside is the incarnation of what American cuisine should be.”

Rolling Stone concludes: “It’s chefs like these…who are using their notoriety to make big changes in the way we eat, think, and even understand one another.”