Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

The CIA Celebrates 10 Years in San Antonio

San Antonio, TX – The Culinary Institute of America marks 10 years in San Antonio at Historic Pearl this year. The world’s premier culinary college served as the consulting organization for the opening of the Center for Foods of the Americas (CFA) in 2006, and created its Texas campus two years later when San Antonio entrepreneur and philanthropist Kit Goldsbury presented the CIA with the largest-ever gift in private culinary education—officially founding the campus and enabling its expansion through the years.

“Over the last 10 years, watching hundreds of students walk across the stage during graduation has been a thrilling testament to the incredible talent of the CIA instructors and the bright, passionate students they serve,” said Shelley Grieshaber, director of culinary operations at Pearl. “It’s also a testament to the fact that Pearl isn’t just about great restaurants and beautiful buildings. At its heart, Pearl is about creating opportunities for our next generation of culinary innovators, and the CIA is central to this mission.”

Goldsbury’s investment corporation, Silver Ventures, bought the Pearl Brewery site in 2002 with extensive plans to create a mixed-use development that would include restaurants, shops, and eventually, a boutique hotel. The company restored many of the existing spaces and built a state-of-the-art kitchen and classrooms for Pearl’s anchor tenant—a research and educational facility, the CFA.

Following this, Goldsbury pledged $35 million to the CIA—the majority earmarked for scholarships for Latino culinary students to attend the CIA as part of the college’s El Sueño initiative. In addition to helping Latinos acquire the skills needed to attain leadership positions in foodservice and hospitality, El Sueño’s second goal is to create a future where Latin American cuisines are elevated to their rightful place among the great cuisines of the world.

In 2011, the National Restaurant Association presented the CIA and Silver Ventures with its Faces of Diversity Inspiration Award, honoring the success of El Sueño, literally The Dream. “The accomplishments of the CIA in helping young students achieve better education and career options are admirable and inspiring,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney at the time.

“During our first decade in San Antonio, we have seen success with both aspects of El Sueño,” says Fernando Salazar, managing director of the CIA’s Texas campus. “Latinos, who make up much of the workforce, are finding greater leadership opportunities in the food world. Meanwhile, the profile and reputation of the diverse cuisines of Central and South America and the Caribbean are on the rise. We are working hard to ensure these positive trends continue in the coming decade.”

The CFA officially became the third campus of the CIA in 2008 when classes of 36 students began pursuing a 30-week certificate program in culinary arts. Once extensive new facilities were completed in 2010, the CIA was able to launch associate degree programs in both culinary arts and baking & pastry arts, expanding enrollment to about 150 full-time students. The CIA was also able to offer continuing education classes in Latin cuisines for culinary professionals and food enthusiast classes for the public.

In addition, since 2014, bachelor’s degree students from the college’s New York campus have had the option to spend a semester in San Antonio for a 15-week academic concentration in Latin Cuisine Studies.

The CIA opened Nao in 2012, a restaurant featuring cuisines from throughout Latin America. Today, Nao Latin Gastro Bar is a vibrant concept with a menu of progressive Latin food helmed by Executive Chef Zach Garza, a graduate of the CIA San Antonio. The campus is also home to the popular CIA Bakery Café, a pop-up establishment for several weeks each spring, allowing baking & pastry arts majors to get hands-on retail bakeshop experience at the end of their sophomore year.

Over the past decade, the CIA’s Texas campus has launched the careers of incredible talents such as Diego Galicia of Mixtli; Diego Fernandez of Starfish and recently announced Hearsay Urban Taste; Michele Hitchcock, sous chef at the popular Hotel Emma; Michael Evan Martinez, sous chef at Brigid; and Luis Morales of the progressive Humble House food company.

As the CIA celebrates 10 years in San Antonio, the college is planning special food enthusiast classes; new cooking classes, including some for children; a celebration dinner at Nao Latin Gastro Bar on Friday, May 6; and more.

The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio is located at 312 Pearl Parkway in San Antonio, TX. For more information, please visit

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio. (Photo credit: Michael White/CIA)
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Media Contact:

Danielle Kaplan

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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