CIA Students and Grads ❤️ Their Chef-Instructors!
To celebrate the annual Chef Appreciation Week in September, we invited students and alumni to give a shout-out to their favorite CIA chef-instructors. You know…the chefs who’ve served as role models, whose instruction has made a career-long impact, who changed students’ lives, who made class fun. Here’s a sampling of some of our faves!
Laura Gilbert ’12
Chef Utera urged me to keep my head up and keep trying after I failed my second-term practical exam (fifth term practical, too!), eventually passing. When working with him as a student assistant for the Société Culinaire Philanthropique Salon of Culinary Arts competition in NYC (and taking First Place and Best in Show for sugar showpiece), he gave me the best advice after I accidentally broke a component of the sugar piece when unpacking. “No one, including customers, judges, or other chefs, knows what your final showpiece or dessert product is supposed to look like. This is the moment in baking and pastry when you actually get to improvise.” Thank you, Chef!
Chef showed me I have the potential and strength to do well, despite everything I was going through. He made a huge impact on me as a person and as an aspiring chef. Thank you!!
Justin Lang ’12
Chef didn’t try to pull me from the Hell that I thought I was in; in fact, he showed me that it was I who was the devil and therefore in control. A little extreme, but those lessons I learned in K16 and just in passing in the hall have reverberated with me ever since, even after transitioning from the hot line to the line of duty as a U.S. Air Force NCO. Dave McCue saved my old life and inspired a new one. #BetterFaster
He is the best chef so far! I had him for Fundies, but I always go back to him whenever I need advice. He is always so patient and funny! The most kindhearted chef!
Coming into the CIA, I was
extremely nervous, especially when it came to working with the chefs. Chef Lars
has taught me to be a bit more confident in what I do, as well as to not be
afraid to ask for help if I need it! He also spends time with individual
students to make sure that everyone is understanding their tasks. He goes above
and beyond! Thank you, Chef!
On my first day of Fundies, he made us all comfortable. He taught us so many valuable things that I will carry through the rest of my time here and in the rest of my life. He is by far the best chef I’ve had so far, and I appreciate him more than anything.
April Johnson ’18
I had Chef Eisenhauer for Cuisines of Asia. She really pushed me and my classmates to learn as much as we could about cooking and the cultures of the countries we learned about. Definitely one of my favorite chefs from my time at the CIA!
Chef Meli is an amazing instructor who really cares about her students and their success.
He challenges us to push our boundaries, encourages us to try new things, and always supports us! He cares for us, knows our strengths and limitations, and mentors us to face the world. He makes going to school exciting!
Blayre Wright ’13
Chef Rossomando was the first person to teach me how to properly make a decorated cake from start to finish. I had her for Basic and Classical Cakes. She was a chef-instructor who gave tough love, which was desperately needed in a room full of students who thought they knew how to decorate from that Wilton class they took when they were 12. I’ll never forget having to throw my first cake in the blue bin! She taught me to not settle for anything less than my own personal best, and made me want to work harder to perfect my technique. When I was a senior in the bachelor’s program, Chef invited me to mentor the students in her pastry classes (some of whom I still keep in contact with as a professional today!). I currently own my own business making wedding and special-occasion cakes, and I still think of the many things I learned from Chef Rossomando!
Corinne Dewey ’18
Chef Utera was so funny and patient when teaching us new techniques, and I had so much fun in his class.
Alexander Beninato ’15
Chef Klug has without a doubt had the biggest impact on my culinary career. He taught me how to properly season my food. Before my time with him, I sort of just guessed or assumed that something was seasoned or not. He took the time to taste and adjust dishes with me many times over until it all clicked. It’s something I take for granted now, but at the time it was game-changing. Thanks, Chef!
Jacoby Dinges ’15
Chef Welker was a man of few words, but the words he did speak were inspiring and made you want to do more!
Perry Tobin ’16
The best part about Chef Lipuma is that he believes in you, 100%. He built me up and broke me down, but then rebuilt me to be the absolute best that I could be. I so appreciate the dedication and work he puts into all of his students. He taught me how to express my creativity and how to tell a story with a dish. I cherish the knowledge THE legend has passed on to me. I am so grateful for all the time I spent in a kitchen with him! Thank you, Chef.
Ivan Minuet ’19
Chef De Paola taught me, “it’s about doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.”
Thuy To Uyen Pham
Chef Mark Ainsworth is the great chef at the CIA. He always gives you a hand before you need something. He can read your mind.
Anna Metz ’19
Chef Weber challenged me to be the best I can be even on my worst days. He was the one who kept pushing me, and never stopped. His creativity and passion for baking and pastry has made me realize how much I loved it.
Isabella Maynor ’16
Chef gave me support and pushed me to strive to be better, both on sauté and in the field itself. #xgonnagiveittoya
Caitlin Crane ’19
Chef Meli continues to positively influence
my life even after graduation.
Elizabeth Slebrch ’18
Chef Fritz is an amazing instructor who taught me all the fundamentals of baking and pastry. Not only did she teach me how to be a chef, but she also taught me major life lessons along the way. She took the time to get to know each of her students and gave us all the tools we needed to succeed in this industry. She has given me so much knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my career/life. She really put all of her effort and finesse into everything she did during lessons and demos, and really showed her passion that she has for being in the kitchen and teaching.
Michael Schroeder ’18
Chef Kahlenberg taught me solid fundamentals that I could take to any kitchen. But the most important thing he taught me was how food is a tool of change, important for health, and a labor of love. For this he has my eternal gratitude as long as I pursue my dreams. Be well, Chef K!!
ReBecca Kronz ’14
Chef Utera! I’ll forever be grateful for his guidance—he never allowed me to settle for less than my best.