Bryan Caswell ’99, executive chef/co-owner of four successful Houston restaurants, recently delivered the commencement address to associate degree graduates at the San Antonio campus. He compared graduation day to standing on a platform on a train station. Now, he said, it is time for each of the graduates to choose their destination and begin their culinary journey in that direction.
Chef Caswell’s Reef was named Best Seafood Restaurant in the United States by Bon Appétit magazine in 2008. His other restaurants are Little Bigs, El Real Tex-Mex Café, and 3rd Bar Eating House. He has also developed four concepts at the Astros’ Minute Maid Park. Raised in Houston, Caswell studied at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus. After graduating, he worked for such renowned chefs as Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Wayne Nish, and fellow CIA alumni Charlie Palmer ’79, Alfred Portale ’81, and Rocco DiSpirito ’86.
Caswell, 39, was named a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef in 2009. He’s a two-time nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award as Best Chef: Southwest and was honored as a Rising Star Restaurateur by StarChefs.com in 2011.
In addition to an AAS in culinary arts, students at the CIA San Antonio can also major in baking and pastry arts. As part of their studies, during sophomore year, students work at Nao: New World Flavors, a public restaurant on campus. Generous scholarships for Texas residents are available through the college’s El Sueño initiative and other financial aid opportunities.