Beard Rising Star Chef to Cook at Alma Mater


Six graduates of The Culinary Institute of America were winners of James Beard Foundation Awards for 2019—considered the Academy Awards of the food world—and dining enthusiasts in the Hudson Valley will soon have an opportunity to meet and enjoy the cooking of one of the honorees. Kwame Onwuachi ’13 of Kith and Kin in Washington, DC, who took home the award for Rising Star Chef of the Year at the Beard Foundation’s Chef and Restaurant Awards ceremony on May 6, will be visiting the CIA’s Hyde Park, NY campus next week.

Chef Onwuachi returns to his alma mater on May 16 and 17. He will be signing copies of his new bestselling book, Notes from a Young Black Chef, followed by a cooking demonstration and talk, on Thursday, May 16 beginning at 8 p.m. in the CIA’s Danny Kaye Theatre. The public is invited and admission is free. The following day, he will be guest chef during lunch at The Bocuse Restaurant on campus, with a special menu he developed with the restaurant’s chef, CIA Assistant Professor Jason Potanovich ’96. The four-course prix fixe lunch is $39 and reservations can be made online or by calling 845-451-1012.

Chef Onwuachi’s honor marked the second straight year a CIA graduate won the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Camille Cogswell ’13, pastry chef at Zahav in Philadelphia, received the award last year. Zahav was named Outstanding Restaurant this year.

Other CIA graduates who were big winners at this year’s gala James Beard event in Chicago were Lee Hanson ’87, chef and co-owner of Frenchette in New York City, named Best New Restaurant; Johnny Clark ’02, Best Chef: Great Lakes; and Michael Cimarusti ’91, Best Chef: West. Ten days earlier, at the organization’s Media Awards night, JJ Johnson ’07 won the award for Best Cookbook: American, as co-author of Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day; and the late Fatima Ali ’11 was honored posthumously with a journalism award in the Personal Essay, Short Form category for her Bon Appétit column, “I’m a Chef with Terminal Cancer. This Is What I’m Doing with the Time I Have Left.”

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