Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Subject of Oscar®-Nominated Documentary Speaks to CIA Graduates

Brandon Chrostowski Returns to Alma Mater for Commencement

Hyde Park, NYBrandon Chrostowski—a former candidate for mayor of Cleveland, OH and the founder, president, and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute—delivered the commencement address at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on May 25. The film Knife Skills, a 2018 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject, is about Chef Chrostowski and EDWINS.

EDWINS is a world-class restaurant in Cleveland mostly staffed by people with no prior restaurant experience who have been recently released from prison. Chrostowski, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management from the CIA, created EDWINS to offer a second chance and give ex-cons an opportunity for the future. It has been described by NPR as “a kind of hybrid restaurant and social services concept.”

“Everything that you need is within you: the courage to make a decision, the idea to trust your instincts, and the ability to make it happen,” Chrostowski challenged new CIA graduates. “Open up your heart to serving other people. Open up your mind to understanding that this is bigger than you. It is bigger than food. It’s about humanity. You have the key and the skill to unlock that for others.”

Chrostowski has been recognized as a CNN Hero. He has also received an award for social entrepreneurship from the Manhattan Institute and been named to the Crain’s Cleveland Business “40 Under 40” list. In an effort to further serve his community, he ran for mayor of Cleveland as an independent in 2017 and finished fourth out of nine candidates.

The day before the graduation ceremony, the CIA hosted a free screening of Knife Skills for students and the community, followed by a Q&A session with Chef Chrostowski.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including Brandon Chrostowski’s address to recipients of associate degrees in baking & pastry arts and culinary arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

Brandon Chrostowski, subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Knife Skills, speaks to graduates of The Culinary Institute of America at the college’s New York campus on May 25, 2018. Chef Chrostowski earned his bachelor’s degree in management from the CIA before founding the EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Ohio. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Writer

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 bachelor’s degrees in management, culinary arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, and associate degrees in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The college also offers executive education through its Food Business School along with 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 nearly 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

# # #

Contact Us

Media Relations
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499
Phone: 845-451-1457