Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Specialty Food Association President Speaks to CIA Graduates

Phil Kafarakis Delivers Commencement Keynote

Hyde Park, NY, March – Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association (SFA), was the keynote speaker during graduation ceremonies at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on March 22. The SFA is a non-profit trade association representing more than 3,800 food artisans, importers, buyers, distributors, and other entrepreneurs and innovators. In his role, Mr. Kafarakis is the leading advocate and spokesperson for the $140 billion U.S. specialty food industry

“Remember that success isn’t just about power and money. Success is what you make of it,” Mr. Kafarakis told the newest class of CIA graduates. “The Culinary Institute of America has put you on the path for a phenomenal future. With the education you received here, you’ll be prepared to go and make your success almost anywhere…Use everything you learned here to make a positive difference in all the things you do, and the rest really does take care of itself.”

Before becoming president of the SFA, Mr. Kafarakis was chief innovation and member advancement officer at the National Restaurant Association. During his long career as an executive in the global food and beverage business, he held leadership positions at McCormick & Co., Cargill, Jones Dairy Farm, Kraft, and Oscar Meyer Foods. He has also served on the board of Meals on Wheels.

The entire CIA commencement ceremony, including Mr. Kafarakis’s address to recipients of associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts, can be seen online.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan (center) congratulates Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association, following Mr. Kafarakis’s commencement address at New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on March 22, 2019. (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 master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, 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 more than 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. 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