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.
Adam was first exposed to the art of cooking at the age of 15,
watching his father and stepmother preparing family meals at home.
During his junior year in high school, he signed up for a program that
allowed him to spend a month at The Culinary Institute of America,
and he fell in love with the college. He obsessed about the place all
through his senior year, and knew that’s where he had to go. It was
worth the wait. “I think The Culinary Institute of America’s emphasis on
work ethic and strong fundamentals definitely helped me excel at every
position I’ve ever held,” he says. “This award (from Forbes) also solidified in my mind how important the bachelor’s program at the CIA has been for me.”
Important indeed. After graduation, Adam landed his first job as a
prep cook at Niche, one of the properties in the Craft Restaurant Group.
He quickly rose through the ranks at Craft, becoming Niche’s chef de
cuisine by age 22, and then executive chef at Brasserie. He spearheaded
the expansion of Pastaria, the group’s Italian restaurant, and shared
responsibilities as executive chef and owner of the entire dining empire
with his mentor, Gerard Craft.
His honor from Forbes is a fitting tribute to all his
efforts. “Being selected for the ‘30 Under 30’ list is a testament to
what hard work and dedication can help you achieve,” he says. “Working
your hardest, day in and day out, is what allows you to accomplish every
goal you set for yourself.” Adam is quick to credit his colleagues at
Craft as well. “You can never do something like this alone,” he
explains. “All of these accomplishments are a direct result of building
great teams, and we have been lucky enough to build amazing teams so
And he’s ever-grateful for the amazing education he received from the CIA. “It definitely laid the groundwork in my mind to allow us to be able to expand in the way we have done.”
In March 2015, after nearly eight years, Adam made the difficult
decision to step away from the Craft Restaurant Group and is not longer a
shareholder. “I want to take some time off and relax for a little bit,”
Adam says. “I’ve been going 100 miles per hour for awhile now and
sometimes it’s just time for a change in scenery.” Gerard Craft said of
his parting, “Adam has been a valued member of the team for many years,
and we are proud of the work that we were able to accomplish together.
We’re excited to see what’s next for him.”
For now, Adam is taking that well deserved break, traveling, eating,
and planning his wedding to girlfriend Lili Nguyen set for November 5,