Grad Speaker Personifies Success in Fast Casual Dining

Nate Appleman ’99 Addresses Commencement

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Jeff Levine
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Hyde Park, NY – Nate Appleman, culinary manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill and ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, delivered the keynote address during commencement ceremonies at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on July 2.

Chef Appleman made a name for himself in San Francisco’s dining scene, first as executive chef and co-owner of A16, then as opening executive chef of SPQR. He was a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2009, the same year he won the James Beard Award as Rising Star Chef. The 1999 CIA graduate left San Francisco for New York and, after a short stint as executive chef of a pizzeria in Lower Manhattan, met up with Chipotle founder and fellow CIA alumnus Steve Ells ’90.

At Chipotle—and Ells’s newer concept, ShopHouse—Chef Appleman continues to develop menu items made with quality ingredients, but this time with a much wider reach. He was behind Chipotle’s first-ever new menu item, vegan tofu “sofritas,” which debuted in 2014.

On his 36th birthday, Chef Appleman spoke to 66 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.

The entire graduation ceremony can be seen online.

Photo Caption:

Nate Appleman ’99 addresses associate degree graduates of The Culinary Institute of America on July 2, 2015. Appleman, culinary manager at Chipotle Mexican Grill, spoke at the college's Hyde Park campus on his 36th birthday. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)

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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