The Culinary Institute of America

Kwame Onwuachi

Spotlight On: Kwame OnwuachiAOS Culinary Arts

Class of 2013
Hometown: Bronx, NY
"I love that the CIA opens so many doors for you in the industry and with a degree from this school, I know my possibilities are endless."

How did you become interested in food?
I join many chefs in owning the phrase “cooking saved my life.” My mother raised both my sister and myself by herself and catered events all around New York in order to provide for us. This gave me a sense of entrepreneurialism and a passion for cooking at a young age.

Who most influenced you?
My mother definitely influenced me to pursue a culinary career. I also credit Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem, NY and three other restaurants. His inspirational story motivated me to take my career to the next level.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
One of the challenges I had to face was taking a step back. By this I mean, I owned my own catering business and was already knee deep in the culinary field but I needed the formal training in order to create a greater foundation, which going to the Culinary Institute would provide.

Do you have a previous degree/career?
Yes, before the CIA I went to school to study business administration.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose the CIA because of its reputation and culinary program and the curriculum is incomparable to other culinary schools. Plus, most of the successful chefs in the industry have trained at this school.

What do you like best about CIA?
I love that the CIA opens so many doors for you in the industry and with a degree from this school, I know my possibilities are endless.

What are your career goals/plans?
After graduation I plan on working in either Europe or Japan for a couple of years. After that, my plan is to run a fine dining restaurant in New York City.

Any advice for prospective students?
I would seriously encourage someone to attend the CIA. This is such a competitive industry and a degree from the CIA will ensure your future success!

Read more about Kwame and how living in Nigeria during his early teenage years helped him appreciate food, life, and the opportunities available to him.

The Culinary Institute of America

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Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

845-452-9600