Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Heritage Eats Founder Speaks to Graduates of the CIA at Greystone

Ben Koenig Invokes Memory of Anthony Bourdain

St. Helena, CA – Ben Koenig, founder of the fast-casual concept Heritage Eats, delivered the keynote address during commencement at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA on December 19. Launched in the Napa Valley in 2015, Heritage Eats offers sandwiches, salads, wraps, rice bowls, and tacos, serving everyday foods from around the globe, with a focus on the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

One year to the day since the late Anthony Bourdain spoke to CIA bachelor’s degree graduates at the college’s New York campus, Mr. Koenig asserted that Bourdain was certainly an influence on this graduating class.

“Bourdain’s passion for food and travel never came across as manufactured or contrived. He related to people and was relatable right back,” Mr. Koenig told recipients of degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts. “One of Bourdain’s more memorable lines was ‘Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot.’ In an age where we’re all so afraid to fail because of how it will be portrayed on social media, I urge you to take his advice.”

With the success of Heritage Eats in Napa, Mr. Koenig opened additional locations in Palo Alto and Walnut Creek this year. He came to the restaurant world after working as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City and served as assistant general manager at The Thomas in Napa in 2013 and 2014 before deciding to open his own concept. Heritage Eats has a strong relationship with local farmers and distributors and a portion of its sales is donated to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Heritage Eats was named a Top 75 Casual Brand and Mr. Koenig a Top 25 Executive by in 2018.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Heritage Eats founder Ben Koenig speaks to associate degree recipients during commencement at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA on December 19, 2018. (Photo credit: Victor M. Samuel/CIA)
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About The Culinary Institute of America:

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 master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, certificate programs, and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of more than 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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