Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Chef of NYC’s Top Spanish Restaurants Returns to Alma Mater

Alex Raij ’99 Delivers Commencement Address

Hyde Park, NY – Alex Raij, chef and co-owner of the Michelin-starred La Vara and three other regional Spanish restaurants in New York City, was commencement speaker at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on May 26.

Chef Raij, a 1999 CIA graduate, is a five-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: New York City. She was included among six groundbreaking chefs in a feature in Bon Appétit magazine titled, “Women Chefs: The Next Generation.”

Raij and her husband, Basque chef Eder Montero, are the team behind La Vara, Txikito, El Quinto Pino, and Tekoá. La Vara, in Brooklyn, holds a star in the New York Michelin Guide for its southern Spanish cuisine that explores the region’s Jewish and Moorish influences. Txikito and El Quinto Pina in Manhattan are considered the city’s top Basque restaurant and most authentic tapas bar, respectively. And the newly opened Tekoá is an all-day café in Brooklyn with an accent on Mediterranean, Spanish, and Latin cuisines.

Her first cookbook, The Basque Book: A Love Story in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito, was published last year.

The entire CIA graduation ceremony, including Chef Raij’s address to 89 recipients of CIA associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Alex Raij ’99, chef and co-owner of four New York City restaurants including the the Michelin-starred La Vara, spoke to graduates of the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on May 26, 2017. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers bachelor’s degree majors in applied food studies, culinary science, food business management, and hospitality management; associate degrees in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts; and executive education through its Food Business School. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of 49,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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