Kevin Ashade, CIA culinary arts alumni

Alumni Bio: Kevin Ashade '09

Culinary Arts
Executive Chef & Owner, GourmEATS Catering Services
"I loved the diverse student atmosphere and all of us coming together around food and our passion...I made lifelong friends at CIA!"

What is your favorite dish to create?
It's hard to name one dish as a favorite. I deal with a diverse client base that includes professional athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and business executives from all over the world. I am constantly learning and feel I need to perfect every cuisine. That said, I spent my early childhood overseas and I gravitate toward European cuisine.

Describe a day in your life at your job/business.
Honestly, each day varies. I cater and work for myself, so on any given day I can be catering a corporate event, creating dietary plans for athletes, preparing for a private dinner party or a large-scale event. A lot of my time is also spent researching new techniques and testing out new recipes. It's never the same thing day-to-day, which is great!

Tell us about a few highlights of your career.
I worked my way up by working at several top restaurants to ultimately working for myself. Though the long hours can be challenging, I love what I do and it keeps me going. I would say my recent appearance on the Food Network show 'Beat Bobby Flay' is currently at the top of my career highlights. Beating Chef Bobby Flay is something people rarely accomplish and I did - with a classical French dish (coq au vin) at that!

Do you have any advice for future or current CIA students?
Follow your dreams and never stop learning! I still see myself as a cook because I'm always learning even though my title is Executive Chef. YOU determine how far you go in your career. Your path may not be conventional but remember to always challenge yourself by learning new things and you'll stay ahead of the curve.

What's your best memory at the CIA?
Overall, the curriculum structure and the dedication the chefs had for the students. I loved the diverse student atmosphere and all of us coming together around food and our passion for culinary arts. Learning (and partying) with my classmates are my top memories. I made lifelong friends at CIA!

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