CIA Alumni Profiles

Lifetime membership in an exclusive club—that’s what awaits you as a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Our 48,000-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.

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...]

Duff Goldman ’98 Owner of Charm City Cakes, Host Sugar High

Duff Goldman, renowned for his innovative creations at his Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD, is one of the most sought-after cake makers in the country. For ten seasons Chef Goldman brought his unique style of baking to a national television audience as the host of the hit Food Network show, Ace of Cakes. Goldman's new show, Sugar High, takes him on a cross-country motorcycle trek to capture the … [Read more...]

Rocco DiSpirito ’86, Host Rocco’s Dinner Party

Chef DiSpirito opened his premier restaurant, Union Pacific, in 1997 in New York City to widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times gave the restaurant a three-star rating in 1998, saying, "Mr. DiSpirito seems to think about flavor in ways that ordinary people don't." In 2002, Union Pacific earned a second three-star review from the New York Observer. In addition to his position at Union … [Read more...]

Cat Cora ’95 Iron Chef, Executive Chef Bon Appetit, Restaurateur, and Author

Cat Cora is known around the world as the only female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America. It was her culinary expertise and flair that enabled her to join the ranks of such Iron Chef luminaries as Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Masaharu Morimoto. As executive chef for Bon Appétit magazine, Cat brings that talent to bear every day. In November 2006, Bon Appetit bestowed her with their … [Read more...]

Michael Chiarello ’82 Chef, Vintner, TV Host, Entrepreneur

Michael Chiarello is the tastemaker behind NapaStyle and Chiarello Family Vineyards. He was chef/owner of the former Tra Vigne Restaurant, and is now the successful owner of the Bottega Restaurant in Yountville, CA and the recently opened Coqueta on Pier Five in San Francisco. In addition, he is an Emmy-winning Food Network and Fine Living Network personality and cookbook author. Over his … [Read more...]

Anne Burrell ’96 Chef and Television Host

With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell eliminates the intimidation of restaurant dishes and reveals concise, easy-to-master techniques for the at-home cook on her Food Network series, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Chef Burrell has also worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy, and battled … [Read more...]