With the Right Instructor, Anyone Can Cook
Our accomplished instructors boast backgrounds as diverse as our student population. They bring their vast culinary training and experience as executive chefs, pastry chefs, caterers, private chefs, food writers, bakery owners, and educational leaders to every course they teach. Our instructors have worked in some of the finest restaurants and institutions in the greater Boston area and across the world, and are passionate about sharing their knowledge with future culinary leaders like you.
Chef Jerrod Perry
Director of Recreational Programs and Events
After teaching culinary arts in our Recreational department since 2014, Chef Jerrod Perry has since been promoted to Director of Recreational Programs and Events. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu classic French culinary arts school, Chef Jerrod worked as an Executive Chef, Head Pastry Chef, and owned a private catering business in Hawaii for over 7 years before moving to Cambridge to explore his passion for culinary education. Chef Jerrod oversees all recreational classes and private events at CSCA, and acts as head chef for external events, working with students from our Professional Programs. He always welcomes requests for specific classes, private event inquiries, and recommendations of any type.
“When I look out at a dining table and see guests eating, smiling, drinking, sharing the food I’ve created … I realize the food is the catalyst. It brings us together. And if it’s seasoned just right, walls come down and glasses raise.”
Chef Afton Cyrus joined the CSCA team as a recreational instructor in 2019, where she is glad to share her passion and expertise in canning and preserving with enthusiastic home cooks. After receiving degrees in education from Brandeis University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Afton spent a decade as a teacher and program administrator in Boston before putting her passion for culinary arts at the center of her career. She has worked closely with small farms in the Greater Boston area for the last decade to transform what they grow into jams, jellies, and other preserves through her small business, Jam Sessions. In addition, she joined the team at America’s Test Kitchen in 2015 to develop recipes for an array of award-winning cookbooks, including Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments & More. Today, she is the Deputy Food Editor for America’s Test Kitchen Kids, developing recipes for New York Times bestselling cookbooks and digital content for young chefs ages 3 to 18.
“I love to help students of all ages explore new avenues of learning, and to discover and celebrate the world of food. Teaching others through the lens of culinary arts has brought together all of my skill sets and my passion for cooking, and is the true joy of my life.”
Chef Anthony Haley is a Boston native who obtained his Associates degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University – Providence in 2008. He went on to earn his Bachelors in Culinary Nutrition in 2010. After working in Research and Development for Heinz North America in Pittsburgh, PA, Anthony returned home to Boston. He spent many years working for Legal Seafoods, primarily training and opening new locations. In 2015, Chef Anthony opened Antonio’s Bacaro, a venetian wine bar and restaurant in Hyde Park, where he was the Executive Chef. Chef Anthony spends his free time training mixed martial arts, including Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu…and now teaching Recreational Classes at CSCA!
“I am extremely passionate about everything culinary and am so excited to spread my knowledge and learn what I can”
Chef Ariella Amshalem has four children and a sense of humor. She has lived back and forth between Boston and Israel since the age of 5, and now resides in a lovely, semi-rural town where local milk is delivered to her doorstep every Tuesday morning. After a career as a dancer and dance teacher, Ariella decided to pursue her other passion, and enrolled in pastry school at CSCA in 2008, when her first baby was eight months old. She began teaching recreational classes shortly after graduating, and continues to be thrilled to share her love of baking and cooking with the students who attend her classes. Ariella has worked in cafes, bakeries, restaurants, a winery, written content for the Breville brand, and has led food tours around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. She recently taught cooking at a girls’ school in a remote corner of the Negev Desert, where the students regularly ate and prepared couscous and bourekas, but had never baked a muffin. In the Spring of ’22 Ariella completed her Graduate Certificate in Food Studies at Boston University, and currently teaches a Jewish Cooking and History Course at Hebrew College.
“I love connecting with my students through baking, through demystifying food science, and through the origins and history of the recipes. I am happy when students leave my classes feeling more empowered to try new recipes at home and more aware of the ‘why?’ behind the baking and cooking process!”
Chef Burke Weston was born in Boston. He then transplanted to a working farm in central Maine at a very young age. Seeing first hand how the food is grown and subsequently cooked, instilled a deep affinity and respect for local farms and the people running them. This inspired Burke to go to New England Culinary Institute, graduating in 2009. Burke went on to work at Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston for a number of his early years learning rustic French cuisine. He then moved on to many other restaurants and started his own award winning food truck. For the past two years he’s been working with schools, helping their food programs become more sustainable and fresh. Chef Burke joined CSCA in 2022, teaching in the Recreational Program.
“Demystifying food is one of my favorite things in the world. Showing people what amazing things they can create with a little confidence and direction is extremely rewarding. Sprinkle in a some fun food history and I’m in my happy place.”
Chef Christopher Diamond began his educational journey with a BA in Biology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He then went on to graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in 1986. In 1992, Chef Diamond went on to receive a Certificate from School for American Chefs with Madeleine Kamman at Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA. Chef Diamond has held many positions within in the culinary world in Boston, New York, Paris and California, including Executive Chef titles at Reebok World Headquarters and MIT with Sodexo, and at Berklee College of Music with Aramark. Chef Diamond was the Bronze Medal Award Winner at the ACF Competition in 2004 and received Sodexo Regional Chef of the Year in 2003. After working as a Chef Instructor at Newbury College through 2018, Chef Diamond joined CSCA in early 2019 and teaches in both the Professional and Recreational Programs.
“I am passionate about teaching, sharing my knowledge of and love for the culinary arts. The importance of learning the basics of culinary techniques cannot be over-emphasized. It gives me great satisfaction to aid in launching new culinarians into our ever-expanding field. Growing up in North Cambridge just blocks away from the school, my enthusiasm for preparing good food began in my mother’s kitchen and continues to this day.”
Daniel B. Clarke is the Executive Chef of Nutrition and Food Services at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and chef instructor for Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. His extensive education and training range from graduating from The Culinary Institute of America with a Bachelors of Professional Studies (BPS) in Hospitality Management and from University of Massachusetts Boston earning his Masters of Business Administration (MBA). He is a member of the Epicurean Club of Boston (ACF) where he has obtained several cooking competition medals, a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, the oldest international gastronomic society, the American Culinary Federation, and additionally is Serv-Safe certified ensuring comprehensive Allergen Awareness.
Prior to joining Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, his 32-year career in leadership positions spans from The Culinary Institute of America, the Four Seasons Hotel and Harvard University. He has cooked for several celebrities, including Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Barbara Streisand, Bee Gees, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Tom Brady, Mark Walberg, and Kobe Bryant just to name a few. In addition to these figures, he has also catered to the likes of many world leaders, including Hilary Clinton, and former U.S. presidents such as Bill Clinton, President Bush (Jr. and Sr.) and Jimmy Carter. Clarke is owner, founder, and executive chef of his own entrepreneurial enterprise DBC Culinary Consulting Inc. where he hosts private catering events, private dinner events, cooking lessons and hospitality consultation services
Chef Dianne’s culinary journey started at age 5 with a kids’ magazine recipe for Fluffy Scrambled Eggs. Since then, she has always wanted to make every recipe. Every recipe! She still likes cooking even more than eating, and she likes eating just fine.
In adulthood, Dianne earned a bachelor of arts at a tiny liberal arts college and then had a 12-year career in software. While taking a break from work to be a full-time parent, she still wanted to make every recipe, and she was churning out more food than her family and friends could eat. It was time to go pro! She enrolled in the Professional Chef’s Program at CSCA in 2012, graduated in 2013, and has never left. She thinks cooking is the closest thing to magic, and she wants you to know that you can do magic, too.
Chef Elise Bayard Franklin attended Chef Delphin’s Gourmandise School of Pastry in 2005, before applying to CSCA. She graduated from the Professional Chef’s Program in 2006 and the Professional Pastry Program in 2007 and began assisting in the Professional Programs and teaching Recreational Classes at CSCA while pursuing other pastry ventures. Chef Elise worked as a Pastry Chef at Buttercream Baking Company in Newburyport and as Head Baker at Susu Bakery Boutique in Wellesley.
“I always wanted to be a teacher. Originally, I thought I would be a biology teacher, but being a culinary instructor is even better – it combines science & artistry and you get to eat the end results!”
Chef Eric Haessler is a proud 2016 graduate of CSCA. He is currently the Lead Test Cook for the photo team at America’s Test Kitchen in Boston. His work has appeared in dozens of cookbooks and magazines, including Cook’s Illustrated magazine, Cook’s Country magazine, and the entire line of award winning cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. An elementary school teacher for many years, cooking is a second career for Chef Eric. When he is not making the perfect plate of food to be photographed for publication, Eric enjoys gardening, playing his guitar, and spending time with family and friends.
“Cooking is a way for me to unleash my creativity. I love to learn new techniques and experiment with different flavors. When we all sit down at the table together, we consume my (hopefully delicious) artwork and make space to create the next one. Cooking with my family brings back memories in sights and smells that help us all remain connected.”
Chef Hish grew up in Winchester MA just north of Boston. His passion for food started as a young child, traveling to see his extended family in Cairo. Hish obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at College of Wooster in Ohio. This led to a career path outside the food industry. After years outside the restaurant industry, Hish worked in restaurant supply chain consulting and this made him me realize his true passion once again, food! Hish followed that passion, returning to restaurants and eventually to CSCA. Hish obtained his Professional Chef’s Program Diploma from CSCA in 2018. After graduating CSCA, Chef Hish went on to operate the food truck for America’s Test Kitchen. He currently works with the photography team at ATK. Chef Hish has also worked as a pastry chef for Chickadee, a top 20 Boston restaurant.
Fun Fact: Chef Hish’s grandmother raised chickens on the rooftop of their apartment building!
Chef Jack Connor earned his Bachelors in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University in 2003. Spending a term abroad in France, and returning to honeymoon with his wife cemented his passion for classic cooking techniques and the history of gastronomy. His affection for all things culinary started a very young age, cooking with his parents, and over the years he’s used his technical knowledge to make cooking more approachable for everyone. His experiences at elite private institutions include the roles of Sous Chef, Executive Chef, Director, and Instructor. He loves to cook at home and incorporate the whole family. Once his “station” is clean, he is always hoping someone will watch Ratatouille with him.
“Trying to be perfect is a setup for failure, when you’re cooking, make glorious mistakes and learn from it, there is no better teacher”
Jenifer Murray’s passion for food and wine stems from her father and maternal grandmother. After working in the social work field for many years, she went on to pursue a career in the culinary arts. She graduated from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2002. Her passion for food and wine only deepened as she traveled to many countries, strengthening her skills and knowledge. She returned to school to study wine in 2006 and completed the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Program at BU. In 2012, she completed the 2 year diploma program through Wine & Spirit Eduction Trust. Jenifer is the owner of The Urban Chef Inc. and continues to teach food and wine courses at CSCA and privately. She loves to share her knowledge and introduce students to new wines.
“I am so grateful to my family for sparking my passion for good food and wine and the opportunity it provides you to make lasting memories. In every class, I enjoy watching students create their own memories as they learn a new technique, try a new wine and interact with others while preparing a meal together.”
Chef Jody O’Sullivan studied pastry in France at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie in Yssingeaux, France. After graduating he moved to London and worked with Michelin starred chefs Allan Pickett and Adam Gray. He returned home to Ireland in 2013 to work in the 5-star Adare Manor Hotel before setting up his own bakery and café. In late 2016, he accepted an offer to teach at the Instituto Culinario de Mexico in Puebla, Mexico. In 2018, Chef O’Sullivan was selected to the Mexico Culinary Team for the 2018 Culinary World Cup, forming part of the team’s pastry selection. In the Summer of 2019, he moved with his family to the Boston area and has been teaching Baking and Pastry Arts at CSCA in the Professional and Recreational Programs since his arrival. Chef Jody was a finalist on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship in 2021.
“I’ve always been curious by nature, wanting to know how and why things work the way they do. Pastry encourages this curiosity. Every time I learn something new, I discover different questions. This gives me amazing scope to experiment and challenge myself on a daily basis. It is a constantly evolving profession which I absolutely love to be a part of! Seeing this curiosity and openness to both classical and new ideas and techniques in our students inspires me in the classroom every day. There is nothing better than seeing your passion being transmitted to and replicated by someone else.”
Chef Julie Wilson graduated from CSCA’s Professional Pastry Program in 2009, and basically found her way to cake decorating right after. Julie has decorated cakes professionally for most of her adult life, all over Massachusetts and in San Francisco. She has worked for big bakeries, small batch boutique cake shops, and everything in between. Julie has worked for CSCA since 2019 in various capacities including operations, marketing and now teaching Cake Decorating classes here at CSCA. She is also an avid writer and is currently working for Hasbro.
Chef Kathryn Brouillette is a Rhode Island native who grew up baking alongside her father. When Kathryn entered high school, she went into the culinary vocational program. There, she excelled in baking and pastry and was entered into a state commercial baking competition. She placed first in the state of Rhode Island and had the honor of competing nationally her senior year.
It was clear to Kathryn that pastry was her passion, so she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University, Providence. From there she moved to Boston to work as a pastry cook at the Forbes Five Star Boston Harbor Hotel. She went on to earn her MBA online from Johnson & Wales University while working full time. Kathryn was promoted to pastry supervisor at The Boston Harbor Hotel and created everything from French macarons to five tier wedding cakes. It was there that she found a love for teaching and educating new hires on how amazing the pastry arts can be. Currently, Kathryn works as a cake decorator and you can find her teaching classes involving cake decorating, chocolate and French Macarons.
“I believe that dessert feeds the soul. Baking is a beautiful way of sharing your soul with others. I enjoy sharing my technique and knowledge with the community so that they can share their souls too.”
Chef Laura Klein is passionate about cooking, eating and helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle and always ready to talk food!
Laura’s path to culinary wellness began over 30 years ago marketing fitness products and creating fitness training programs at Reebok during the height of the aerobics craze. She has always loved helping people feel their best, first through physical fitness, later through wellness coaching and now through cooking. Laura learned firsthand that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet; she certainly tried! She also learned that while most people wanted to eat healthier, they were lacking the skills and found it too difficult to make it happen. The missing link in Laura’s toolkit was becoming a professional chef which has allowed her to deliver the knowledge, tools and confidence to help people cook and live their healthiest lives.
Laura graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2019 and holds a certificate in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute. Her coaching credentials include certifications from the Coaches Training Institute, Wellcoaches, The American Council on Exercise and the CHEF Coaching program. Laura has an MBA from Northeastern University and a BS from the University of Vermont.
In addition to teaching recreation classes at CSCA, Laura is faculty for the CHEF Coaching program at Harvard Medical School and teaches culinary classes for physicians, their patients and the public through her company; WellSeasonedCoaching.
“I am honored to empower people to take control of their lives and help them discover that good food can be healthy, delicious, easy to prepare and fun to cook!!”
Chef Lee Tan is a proud graduate of CSCA’s Professional Pastry Program in 2021. She began assisting CSCA’s recreational classes in 2021 and began teaching in 2022. Born in Cambodia, raised in California and Boston, Chef Lee marries her Southeast Asian roots with her American upbringing and passion for world travel to create new and fun twists on savory and sweet classics. Chef Lee is a freelancer at America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. You can find Lee (and her infectious laugh) teaching in our teen and adult recreational classes.
“CSCA fuels people’s curious side and natural hunger – which I look forward to building upon whether fueling a passion for the culinary arts for first time cooks or pushing kitchen veterans to explore what more they can uncover”.
After nearly twenty years in the medical device industry, Chef Leigh pursued her passion of cooking and enrolled in the Professional Chef’s Program at CSCA. After graduating as Valedictorian, she began her culinary career as a line cook at Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, ME. Inspired by the amazing female chefs in Boston, Chef Leigh moved to Fox & the Knife (owned by CSCA Alum Karen Akunowicz) in South Boston. You can catch Chef Leigh making fresh pasta and entertaining diners on the line in Fox’s open kitchen! After assisting in our Professional Programs, Chef Leigh now shares her vast cooking knowledge and passion as a Chef Instructor in our recreational programs.
“I am often asked what is my favorite dish to cook. Simply use fresh and seasonal ingredients, apply classic technique and make it taste great! Teaching at CSCA allows me to pass along these lessons learned and help even the most skeptical create a beautiful dish!”
Chef Marie Perfetti graduated from the CSCA Professional Chef’s Program in 2005 with high honors. She began assisting at the CSCA in 2006 and began teaching Recreational classes the next year. Chef Marie ran a small catering business and led instructional demonstrations for Williams & Sonoma as well. Chef Marie teaches in both our Professional and Recreational programs.
“I chose to attend CSCA because it was a small school with an intense curriculum. I started teaching here because I enjoyed my time at school so much I didn’t want to leave. I like it here because it’s a supportive, passionate, and curious community. You really feel like you’re part of a family here.”
Chef Mark Farone started his culinary career at age 13 as a line cook at a small family restaurant in South Florida. He continued to work in restaurants while completing a master’s in education at the University of Florida, before launching a 20-year career in technology that he left in 2009 to pursue his culinary passion. Chef Mark graduated from the CSCA Professional Chef’s Program in 2010 and worked at gastropubs and local pop-up restaurants in Boston and Cape Cod, before returning to CSCA.
“This is an industry that demands collaboration. I am so proud to work at a school that fosters a collaborative community. CSCA gives you a family and nearly 45 years’ worth of professional alumni across the globe who are here to help materialize your dreams.”
After graduating from Bentley University with a degree in finance, Chef Meg Newcomb moved to Chicago and attended the French Pastry School to study classic French pastry in their L’Art de la Pâtisserie program. After working with chefs Gina and Bob Hartwig at Lovely Bakeshop, Chef Meg returned home to Boston in 2010. Upon her return, she began working as a baker at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square and quickly progressed to Pastry Chef and Executive Chef. In addition to over a decade of cafe management, her industry experience includes custom wedding cakes, event catering, and food trucks. She also competed on The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2013. She joined CSCA in 2019 and teaches in both the professional and recreational programs.
“For me, baking is the ultimate way to share joy with other people. Some of my fondest early memories are of baking with my mom and watching her decorate birthday cakes. I often find that people are intimidated by pastry techniques, and it is my personal goal to demystify the process so we can all share a little more joy with the people we love. Baking should be magical, not scary!”
Chef Nyssa was born into a mixed heritage family in Long Island, NY but grew up traveling and living throughout the United States. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from SUNY Oneonta. Throughout her college years and after graduation, Chef Nyssa has worked in many restaurants throughout America, learning different cuisines.
In 2014, Chef Nyssa opened her restaurant Kismet in Naples, NY where she was the Executive Chef. In 2016, along with Kismet she also operated Snug Harbor on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport NY. Nyssa’s work has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Democrat and Chronicle, Rachel Ray Magazine, Zagat, 585 magazine, and Samantha Brown’s Places to Love.
Chef Nyssa’s cuisine is a reflection of her Mexican and Spanish heritage. Her love of cooking began at age five the day her father showed her how to make tamales and mole sauce. She’s been sharing that love ever since.
“What I love most about cooking is that you are never done learning. There will always be new techniques, ideas, and flavors to personally discover. Stay hungry for knowledge.”
Sarah grew up in a large Italian and Finnish family, enjoying delicious celebrations. The warm feelings of cooking and baking with her parents and celebrating with family and friends influenced Sarah’s decision to pursue a degree in culinary arts and a career as a pastry chef. She went from ‘preparing salads’ of hydrangea leaves and magnolia buds in the sandbox, to inviting her parents to dine at her play-doh ‘restaurant,’ to working as a baker’s apprentice at the local bake shop during high school.
From there, Sarah pursued formal education, earning degrees from Newbury College and Boston College, and has happily worked at a variety of Boston establishments, including fine dining restaurants, high end caterers, large hotels, small gourmet cafes, and even a museum. She has held positions as pastry chef, cake decorator, server, and catering chef. Sarah comes away from these jobs with much appreciation for great flavors and quality ingredients, creativity and collaboration, and especially a love of hospitality. Most importantly, she found a love for teaching and training. You can find Sarah teaching many of our cake decorating, baking and cooking classes and series.
“One of my favorite things about teaching is that I get to learn too. Teaching is a beautiful way to contribute and a fun way to learn about each other, sharing stories and skills.”
Chef Simone Montali worked in his hometown of Florence, Italy at a bakery and then in high-end catering for four years before jetting off to attend CSCA. Chef Simone achieved Valedictorian status of both the Professional Chef’s Program in 2012 and the Professional Pastry Program in 2013. He then went on to work with Acardi Foods, one of the largest Italian and specialty food distributors in New England, and as the Pastry Chef at Bistro 5. Chef Simone is Academic Supervisor at CSCA and teaches in all four certificate and professional programs as well as the recreational department.
“I have always loved the more intellectual element of food, and I find that the pastry arts are very satisfactory in this respect. At first glance, you start with a complicated set of rules, but once you develop a deeper understanding of what lays behind these rules, you can enhance and perfect your craft with exquisite treats that both follow and break traditional guidelines.”
Harvard MBA graduate Steve Nill retired from a successful 30-year financial career to pursue his culinary passion. Chef Steve began working at Rialto as an intern while attending CSCA, and upon graduating from the Professional Chef’s Program in 2007, worked his way up to Rounds Cook, a position he held until the restaurant closed in 2016. He began teaching in the Recreational Program in 2008, and helped develop several regional series curricula for our Recreational Programs. Chef Steve also teaches in our Professional Programs.
“From experience, I know that with just a little time in the classroom, I can help kindle, or re-kindle, an excitement for food and cooking that changes people’s lives and that of their family and friends all around. We will eat three meals a day for the rest of our lives; why not eat something that tastes great?”
Chef Tali Pinnolis grew up in the Boston Area cooking Jewish food with her mother and grandmothers. Her love of both food and art, led her to pursue a career as a pastry chef. She graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence with a Bachelor’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and an Associates degree in Culinary Arts.Tali went on to become the Executive Pastry Chef of The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, and later, the Executive Pastry Chef for the Alpine Restaurant Group. She is the former owner of Beech Tree Sweets, a Kosher catered dessert company and the current pastry chef and co-owner of Sweet Finale, a Keto cookie company. While building her business, she discovered a passion for teaching culinary arts. On top of teaching and cookie baking, Tali also serves as the Ambassador for the Boston chapter of Cake4Kids, a nationwide non-profit that delivers birthday cakes to underserved youth.