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  • CIA Hospitality Students Compete in Abu Dhabi

    2023 Sustainable Hospitality Challenge

    Author Carlos Dorantes ’25 is a Food Business Management major.

    Over the past year, several CIA students participated in one of the biggest student competitions CIA has ever been a part of. The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) is a global competition where students from top hospitality schools are challenged to create business concepts that exemplify sustainability in the hospitality field. The competition pushes students to become experts and innovators as they develop their concepts to be presented to some of the world’s leading hospitality organizations.

    Three outstanding representatives from CIA—Kristi Wadler ’24, Andrew Bialosky ’24, and Anthony Wilson ’25—showcased their entrepreneurial skills and professionalism at the SHC. These hospitality students collaborated with Southern California Institute of Architecture student Jack London Freedman and formed FYTOSI. Their concise yet impactful pitch centered on the future of abandoned oil refineries in a greener world. Their solution? An innovative and sustainable food hall concept, repurposing decommissioned oil infrastructure to create a feasible and eco-friendly culinary space.

    FYTOSI made it to the semifinals in Amsterdam along with nineteen other teams, with a goal of impressing a panel of 12 international executive jury members. Throughout their participation, they discovered that this event transcended the typical competitive atmosphere and instead fostered a collaborative spirit among all participants. This event united leading hospitality, tech, and design universities worldwide, collaborating to drive innovation in the industry. Andrew explained “I never would have thought I would be here... a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

    With such a heavy hitting pitch it was no surprise that FYTOSI made it to the finals in Abu Dhabi. The final round consisted of five teams, and they were each on a mission to win. On the day of the final round, all four team members stood poised and well-prepared for their moment. Confidently facing the panel of judges, they presented FYTOSI with flare and answered any question that came their way. They not only represented CIA with distinction but also brought immense pride to our school with their remarkable pitch. Although they didn’t win, they were able to learn and make many connections with other passionate hospitality students from around the world. They are also still confident in making FYTOSI into the future of sustainability.

    This was the first time CIA has participated in this challenge, and it certainly won’t be the last time. Kristi Wadler, Andrew Bialosky, and Anthony Wilson have all paved the way for future CIA hospitality students to innovate and participate in this premier competition.

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