CIA Alumni Profiles

Lifetime membership in an exclusive club—that’s what awaits you as a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Our 45,000-strong network of alumni can testify to the exceptional value of a CIA education. With your CIA degree in hand, you don’t just have a foot in the door—you have thousands of feet in the door. The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. John Besh, Cat Cora, Duff Goldman, Susan Feniger, Johnny Iuzzini, Roy Yamaguchi, Sherry Yard—these are just a small sampling of our many alumni leaders. They’ve found success doing what they love. They fully embraced the idea that Food is Life. Now it’s your turn.

Tasha Mabin ’10

Tasha Mabin ’10, CIA Alumni, Bachelor of Professional Studies, Culinary Arts Management

Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies Major: Culinary Arts Management Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Hamilton, New Jersey, USA Dual Passions Tasha Mabin’s dream of attending The Culinary Institute of America started in her freshman year of high school. “During my home economic classes I found I had a knack for cooking,” says Tasha, assistant manager at the Compass Group in … [Read more...]

Jonathan Pidgeon ’07 and Megan Mulhern Pidgeon ’07, Chef/Owners, Glazed Donuts

Jonathan Pidgeon ’07 and Megan Mulhern Pidgeon ’07, Chef/Owners, Glazed Donuts, CIA alumni

Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies Major: Megan, Baking & Pastry Arts Management; Jonathan, Culinary Arts Management Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Megan, La Porte, TX; Jonathan, Norfolk, VA Sweet Smell of Success Megan and Jonathan Pidgeon recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of their successful donut shop, Glazed Donuts, located in Key West, FL. It’s the … [Read more...]

Trey Foshee ’90

Trey Foshee ’90, CIA alumni

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Ojai, CA Sustainability is Possible Trey Foshee’s first job in the restaurant industry was mainly a way to support his passion for surfing. Through a family connection he was hired as a busboy at The Ranch House in Ojai, CA. The restaurant’s extensive gardens provided the kitchen with … [Read more...]

Nai Kang Kuan ’02

Nai Kang Kuan, CIA Alumni, Executive Chef, Morimoto Napa

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan Nai Kang Kuan was born on July 1, 1973 in the city of Taipei. He lived a happy but unremarkable childhood until he immigrated to the United States with his mom and an Italian heritage stepfather when he was 12 years old. It was a huge cultural shock to not only move to the upscale … [Read more...]

Lauren DeSteno ’06

Lauren DeSteno ’06, Chef de Cuisine, Marea

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Franklin Lakes, NJ Lauren DeSteno ’06 knew she wanted to be a chef from the age of eight. “In my Italian-Spanish family, food was the center of everything,” she says. With two grandmothers who encouraged her interest in food, Lauren would scour the grocery store choosing items at random. … [Read more...]

Carlton McCoy ’06, Master Sommelier, The Little Nell

Carlton McCoy ’06

Degree: BPS Major: Culinary Arts Hometown: Washington, DC The Value of Mentorship He’s a master sommelier and respected wine professional, and has recently been named to Forbes magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30” list in the Food category. Clearly, Carlton McCoy has found success in the food and beverage world, and credits his many mentors along the way for his … [Read more...]

Joseph “JJ” Johnson ’04

Joseph “JJ” Johnson ’04

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Tobyhanna, PA Keeping Culinary Traditions Alive Chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson is in good company. As one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” honorees, he joins such luminaries as actress Olivia Wilde, singer Bruno Mars, basketball star Kevin Durant, and CNBC anchor Kelly Evans. It’s a … [Read more...]

Jason Pfeifer ’06

Jason Pfeifer ’06, CIA Alumni

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Raleigh, NC Blazing a Trail in the Food World The list of chefs Jason Pfeifer has worked for reads like a “Who’s Who” of culinary giants—Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, Thomas Keller and Jonathan Benno ’93 at Per Se, René Redzepi at Noma. Now he’s joined his own prestigious … [Read more...]

Adam Altnether ’07

Adam Altnether ’07

Degree: Bachelor of Culinary Arts Management Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: St. Louis, MO The Fast Track to Success One look at Adam Altnether’s accelerated career track, and it’s easy to see why he’s been honored by Forbes magazine as part of its 2014 “30 Under 30” list in the Food category. As the co-owner and executive chef of Craft Restaurants in St. … [Read more...]

Bron Smith ’08

Bron Smith ’08

Degree: ACE Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Louisville, CO Finding His Culinary Maturity Bron Smith had plenty of experience, more than a decade as a chef in corporate foodservice and culinary development for Marriott Management Services. But he couldn’t shake that feeling; something was missing. “I needed to find a new direction and new opportunities,” … [Read more...]