Alumni Making Waves

Flavoring The Industry

Our alumni family comprises restaurant and small business owners, chefs, food writers, food stylists, sommeliers, culinary instructors, and business consultants. Many have been featured in local and national newspapers and magazines, and several have participated in shows including Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, The Taste, Cupcakes Wars, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Food Network Challenge. As any of our alumni will tell you, your culinary career post graduation is limited only by your imagination!

CSCA Alum James Beard Award Winners & Nominees

Photo Credit: Matt Kurkowski

Congratulations Karen Akunowicz!

James Beard Award Winner: Best Chef – Northeast 2018

Nominee, Best Chefs in America 2015, 2016, 2017
Nominee, Best New Restaurant 2020

Photo Provided

Congratulations Tony Messina!

James Beard Award Winner: Best Chef – Northeast 2019

Nominee, Best Chef Northeast 2018
Semifinalist, Best Chef Northeast 2017

CSCA Alumni Spotlight

Tara Rylie, PPP 2012
Baker/Owner of RylieCakes

“It was 2012, I’d been gluten free for five years and not once had I found a sweet treat that totally cured my insatiable cravings”.

After graduating from the Professional Pastry Program at CSCA in 2012, Tara went on to launch a successful business, RylieCakes, a line of gluten free baking mixes based in the state of Washington.  These incredible mixes are made from all Non-GMO ingredients, made in the USA, and are packaged n 100% biodegradable pouches so you can treat yourself and Planet Earth too!  Products may be shipped nationwide via or through as well!

In addition, Tara has published “RylieCakes Lick The Bowl”. This awesome cookbook is designed to help unleash the gluten free guru in you! Filled with 70 outrageously delicious, lip-smacking, must-have recipes and over 100 photos, it is bound to captivate you from beginning to end. Whether you’re fed up playing around with gluten free flours that just don’t do the trick or simply tired of dry, crumbly baked goods, look no further. Lick The Bowl provides its readers with an arsenal of tried and true gluten free recipes that will impress friends and family alike, especially when paired with RylieCakes line of baking mixes. RylieCakes is on a mission to bake the world a better place and it all starts here with this cookbook, making gluten free baking fun, fuss-free, and frickin’ delicious!

More Featured Alumni

“CSCA offered me the foundations and techniques I needed to cook with confidence, and the space and opportunity to experiment.”

— Mary Ting Hyatt

Mary Ting Hyatt
Baker/Owner of Bagelsaurus

“The home-cooks I met, cafés I visited, and flavors I experienced during a semester of study abroad in Buenos Aires, introduced me to a food culture I knew I had to be part of. Since I lacked the industry experience and thus the confidence to dive head first into the culinary world, the four-month Culinary Certificate program at CSCA offered a great introduction. After fully engaging with the coursework and instructors, transferring into the full PCP program was easy.”

After graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program at CSCA in 2008, Mary dove straight into a thriving culinary career. She worked the line under Chef Barry Maiden at Hungry Mother, and interned with the talented team at America’s Test Kitchen, before taking a Pastry Cook position at Clear Flour Bread. Following this role, Mary worked at Cutty’s in Brookline for over three years, where her strong relationship with owners Charles and Rachel Kelsey allowed her the space and support to launch Bagelsaurus as a weekly pop-up out of their shop.

Today, Mary is the Baker/Owner of a tiny brick and mortar bakery just down the street from CSCA. Bagelsaurus is well known for exceptional bagels with crisp, crackly skin and chewy, airy insides accompanied by unique cream cheeses and spreads made in house. The space is frequently packed with neighborhood patrons and travelers across the greater Boston area who cannot wait to get their hands on some of the best bagels around.

Karen Akunowicz, PCP 2005
Chef Owner of Fox & the Knife

“Cook! Explore the restaurant industry, so many students I talk to want to be personal chefs or caterers –  I miss seeing young people dying to work at great restaurants.”

2018 James Beard Winner for Best Chef Northeast! After graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program at CSCA, Karen started her culinary career at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. She went on to cook at Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay and jumped at the opportunity to travel to Modena, Italy where she staged in an Osteria making pasta before becoming the Chef at L’Avion blu Enoteca. Upon her return to the States, Karen worked as Ana Sortun’s Sous Chef at Oleana. For seven years, Karen led the kitchen at Myers + Chang, where she co- authored Myers + Chang at Home and was called one of
the “21 Badass Women Changing the Food World” by Marie Claire Magazine. She also competed and was a fan favorite on Bravo TV’s Emmy nominated show “Top Chef” as well as the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.” In February 2019, Karen opened the doors to her own restaurant: Fox & the Knife is a cozy, comfortable restaurant evoking Modena, Italy in South Boston. In February 2020, Fox & the Knife was nominated as a Semi-Finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant. In March 2020, Karen appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef All Stars”.

Matthew Barre, PCP 2005
Executive Chef at Farm & Fries

“CSCA was a wonderful time for me. I felt for the first time that I was a successful student… To prospective students, soak up every bit of information available. Take notes! Everyone at the school has valuable information to share, so constantly ask questions and never, ever miss a class.”

Following his graduation from the Professional Chef’s Program in 2005, Matthew Barre worked at many area restaurants climbing the ranks from Sous Chef at Sonsie Restaurant to Executive Chef at the Tap Trailhouse. He moved south in 2016, working at Erling Jensen The Restaurant until landing his current Executive Chef position at Farm & Fries.

Emma Christensen, PCP 2008
Managing Editor at Simply Recipes

“I chose CSCA because it welcomed older students, because it fit my schedule (day job, night classes), and because it gave a solid grounding in techniques and cuisines from around the world. I wanted to learn EVERYTHING!”

After completing the Professional Chef’s Program at CSCA, Emma Christensen landed a job at The Kitchn, advancing to Associate Food Editor in 2016. Working with the popular online publication, Emma collaborated on the James Beard award-winning The Kitchn Cookbook and wrote and managed countless “how to” articles, weekly meal plans, and features. She has written three cookbooks of her own on the art of homebrewing and now serves as Managing Editor at Simply Recipes.

Tzu-i Chuang Mullinax, PCP 2007
TV Personality / Author

“Grab any chance to learn. If you aim to be a food personality beyond cooking in the kitchen, then it’s essential to broaden and diversify your skill set. Learn photography and food styling, practice writing, read anything food related, travel far and wide, and always be ready to eat new things. Knife skills and butchering sessions elevated me from an accomplished home cook to a professional. The entire baking component broadened the scope of my savory palate and skill set. I assisted in lots of classes and outside events. It was fun and valuable training for the real world of cooking.”

Following her graduation from the CSCA Professional Chef’s Program in 2007, Tzu-i Chuang Mullinax has become one of the most influential food writers in the Chinese speaking world. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tzu-i is known locally as the “Anthropologist in the Kitchen” and explores the commonalities and differences across culinary traditions in her popular cooking shows and books.

Rachel Elman O’Shea, PCP 2008
Co-Founder / Cheesemaker at Laos Buffalo Dairy

“The classes allowed me to explore my artistic side and create many different and interesting things while learning all about the food cultures of other countries. This is part of what encouraged me to go and live internationally!”

Rachel’s culinary career has literally taken her around the world. While a CSCA student, she owned and operated a custom cake business DBA Cakes by Rachel. A few years later, she packed up and moved to Asia, working as a Catering Manager and Professional Trainer with Expat Kitchen, a cooking school in Singapore that helps its students overcome language barriers and find commonality through food. In 2014, Rachel joined a team of likeminded expats to launch Laos Buffalo Dairy in Luang Prabang, bringing quality buffalo milk products including delicious cheese to the area for the first time.

Samuel Ostrow, PCP 2008
Chef / Owner of Festina Lente

“I loved my time at CSCA. My instructors were talented, thoughtful, and continually inspired me to achieve and exceed my goals. I also enjoyed aiding the instructors in the evening recreational classes. At the time I didn’t realize that as a chef, instructing others in the culinary arts and helping them see the joy and inspiring nature of cooking would become a large part of my job, and one of the most continually rewarding.”

After graduating from CSCA, Sam Ostrow traveled up – literally and professionally – from Sous Chef at Wolfgank Puck Catering in Boston to Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, the Black Birch in Kittery, and to 3S Artspace’s Block Six where he worked as Executive Chef before venturing out on his own. In 2018, Sam opened the doors of Festina Lente, an intimate Italian restaurant in Kittery, Maine whose name loosely translates to “make haste slowly.”

Greg Reeves, PCP 2003
Chef / Owner of Viale

“I already had a lot of cooking experience and knew how to do many things when I applied to CSCA but learning the why and hammering home the basic and vocabulary really helped my career.”

Since graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program, Greg has worked at just about every station in the kitchen under many of Boston’s talented chefs. He worked alongside James Beard Award-winning chef Susie Regis at UpStairs on the Square and ran the South End Operations for the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, including B&G Oysters, Stir, and The Butcher Shop. Greg briefly returned to the heart of Cambridge as Executive Chef position at Green Street before joining the opening team at Pier 6 as Executive Chef. In 2014, Greg opened Viale, the casual, upscale restaurant in Central Square where current CSCA students are often invited to “takeover” the kitchen for one-night immersive experiences.

Marcos Sanchez, PCP 2005
Chef de Cuisine at Tasting Counter

“CSCA gave me a classical foundation preparing me for all the challenges I’ve faced. Encompassing an intensive training in traditional Italian cooking, French Cuisine and Modern Technique has been key.”

Marcos Sanchez traveled from California to attend CSCA. Following graduation, Marcos began teaching in our Recreational Programs and working as a Sous Chef at Restaurant Dante. In 2011, he opened Tres Gatos as the Executive Chef, holding this title until he joined Tasting Counter in 2015, which specializes in modern cuisine and offering exceptional multi-sensory dining experiences to guests. He welcomes student field trips and regularly joins the CSCA family at our alumni BBQs.

Jean Terranova, PCP 2003
Director of Food and Health Policy at Community Servings

“Whatever skills you’ve developed in seemingly unrelated education and training (in my case legal) can be put to great use in the culinary world. Consider the CSCA education as a complement/supplement to those skills and experiences.”

A graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Jean has worn many hats as a social justice attorney and advocate. After 10 years in the battlefield as a criminal defense attorney, she knew that she needed a change and decided to pursue her passion for culinary arts at CSCA. With a newfound perspective of the culinary industry, Jean provided consulting services for food-focused non-profits and entrepreneurs, eventually joining Community Servings full time. Today, in partnership with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, Jean is co-leading the development of a statewide Food is Medicine plan in Massachusetts, the first such initiative in the country.

Remi Williams, PCP 2010
Chef / Co-Owner at Smoke & Salt

“Taking care of people is why I chose a career in hospitality. Learning and developing these skills at a warm, hospitable environment such as CSCA really teaches you the importance of treating guests or team members as real people in your home.”

Remi applied to CSCA after completing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Imperial College London. After graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program he worked as a line cook at Craigie on Main and then as a junior sous chef at Deuxave. Remi returned to London as a junior sous chef at The Shed Restaurant where he met his current business partner Aaron Webster, and together they launched Smoke & Salt in 2015.

Would you like to be featured in our next Alumni Spotlight?  Fill out an Alumni Spotlight Submission Form for consideration.