Media Personalities

If you love cooking shows and dream of being the next Guy Fieri or Rachael Ray, a CIA degree can help you realize that goal. Keep in mind that most well-known television personalities refined their skills and built their reputations as professional chefs for many years before getting the chance to work on camera. Television personalities need a strong on-air presence, flexibility, the ability to work well under pressure, and dynamic cooking and baking skills.

Amanda Freitag ’89, Judge, Food Network Chopped

It’s hard to believe that a Food Network Chopped judge and runner up on The Next Iron Chef could fail her first practical exam at the CIA, but it’s true. Standing in front of the chicken she was supposed to butcher and bone, Amanda froze. She couldn’t remember a thing! Right after the exam, she went and got 20 chickens and practiced butchering them in the dormitory kitchen until she could do it … [Read more...]

Angelo Sosa ’97, Executive Chef/Co-owner

Degree: Associate of Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Durham, CT Executive Chef/Co-owner Añejo Tequilaria y Restaurante Angelo Sosa is executive chef/co-owner of Manhattan restaurant Añejo Tequilaria y Restaurante with two locations, one in Hell's Kitchen and one in Tribeca, specializing in serving unique tequilas and traditional Mexican fare. … [Read more...]

Christina Olivarez ’05, Executive Chef, Diego MGM Grand

Degree: Associate of Occupational Studies Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: San Jose, CA From Cooking Secrets to Chopped Occasionally, and fortuitously, a passion in life is revealed in one’s formative years. For Christina Olivarez ’05, executive chef at Diego in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, hers was awakened as a young girl watching Saturday morning … [Read more...]

Fatima Ali ’11, Sous Chef, Cafe Centro

From Pakistan With Love Fatima Ali traveled across the world to her new home at the CIA with only a passport, three suitcases, and a dream. And despite social pressure in her native country of Pakistan to pursue an “auspicious” career—possibly in the law like her father—Fatima knew her own heart. So she found the most “auspicious” cooking school in the world with a bachelor’s degree program and … [Read more...]

Bryan Voltaggio ’99 Chef and Restaurateur

Bryan Voltaggio is the chef/owner of VOLT, a three-star restaurant located in his hometown of Frederick, MD and Range, the 14,000 foot market-style restaurant and retail spot located in the newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington DC. Range opened in December 2012 with 300 seats and includes a charcuterie station, raw bar, rotisserie, bakery, wood fired hearth, candy counter, coffee bar, … [Read more...]

Heather West ’03, Winner of Hell’s Kitchen

The confetti started to fly, people were cheering wildly, millions of viewers all over the world were on the edge of their seats. So what was going through the mind of Heather West, one of two finalists on the second season of FOX's hit reality show "Hell's Kitchen," as she stood behind a closed door waiting for the winner to be announced? "I thought I lost," says the former sous chef from Port … [Read more...]

Michael Symon ’90, Chef Owner of Lola and Lolita and Iron Chef

Renowned in the culinary world and adored in his hometown of Cleveland, Michael is the executive chef and owner of the Symon Restaurant Group whose stable of eateries include Lola and Lolita in Cleveland, OH; Roast in Detroit; Bar Symon in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC; and B Spot with locations in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, and Indianapolis. Symon's newest restaurant is named after his first … [Read more...]

Sara Moulton ’77 Television personality/chef/author

Sara Moulton, host of PBS series Sara’s Weeknight Meals, began her culinary education at The Culinary Institute of America, graduating with highest honors in 1977. For the next seven years, she expanded her skills in a variety of restaurant positions. In 1979, while she was the chef at Cybele's Restaurant in Boston, Sara met Julia Child and began working with her as the associate chef on the PBS … [Read more...]

Hung Huynh ’02, chef and winner Top Chef

The winner of Food Network’s third season of Top Chef, Hung Huynh is the executive chef for EMM Group’s restaurants Catch and The General located in Manhattan and Catch Miami. Born in Vietnam and raised in Pittsfield, MA, Huynh was immersed in cooking from a young age at his immigrant parent’s Vietnamese restaurant. A 2002 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America trained in classic French … [Read more...]

Ilan Hall ’02, Chef/Owner, The Gorbels and host of Knife Fight

Born to travel-hungry Scottish and Israeli parents of Eastern-European descent, chef/owner Ilan Hall was exposed to international food from an early age. Raised in Great Neck, NY, Ilan’s first job was at the local seafood store, Marine Fishery. At 17, Ilan went to Florence where he studied at the Lorenzo de Medici School’s Apicius program and cooked at the Al Lume di Candela restaurant. Then it … [Read more...]