The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) named three new trustees to its board during its October annual meeting: Arash Azarbarzin, Kyle Connaughton, and Adam Crocini.

  • Arash Azarbarzin is a CIA graduate with over 40 years of hospitality experience. Currently, as Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Highgate, Azarbarzin oversees the growth of the company's global hotel portfolio, its industry relationships and internal culture. Additionally, Azarbarzin leads the ongoing development of Highgate's environmental, social, and corporate governance strategy, the company's specialized food and beverage division, and its internal branding/marketing groups. He has always felt that the heart and soul of a hotel is its Food and Beverage offerings, and he is honored to join the board of the CIA, whose program originally fostered his passion for hospitality.
  • Kyle Connaughton is a celebrated chef, culinary educator, and owner of the three-Michelin-starred SingleThread Farm-Restaurant-Inn in Healdsburg, CA. His commitment to excellence and passion for locally sourced, high-quality cuisine is matched only by his passion for supporting the next generation of chefs. Connaughton is a former faculty member and longtime supporter of the CIA and helped develop curriculum for the CIA's culinary science bachelor's degree program. Most recently, he helped design the CIA's new Master's in Culinary Arts program and serves as one of the program's culinary mentors.
  • Adam Crocini is a CIA graduate and is senior vice president and global head of food and beverage brands at Hilton. In this position, Crocini oversees the strategy and development for food and beverage for Hilton's 22 brands globally from concept through creation. He has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries, which includes a 12-year tenure with the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group and ten years living in Singapore working with Marina Bay Sands. Prior to joining Hilton, Crocini worked at Capella Hotel Group as Corporate Vice President of Operations, driving the strategic planning of all new restaurant, bar, and spa concepts as well as property design and development. His longstanding support, connections, and passion for the hospitality business will be an asset to the CIA.
These new board members share our commitment to keeping the culinary and hospitality industries vibrant, sustainable, and resilient for decades to come. "Their leadership, experience, and forward-thinking mindsets will help ensure the CIA continues to be the gold standard in culinary education.  CIA President, Tim Ryan

The CIA's Board of Trustees consists of 22 highly respected leaders in the foodservice industry and business world. They provide expert governance and guidance for the not-for-profit college and are not compensated for their services.

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 associate, bachelor's, and master's 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. For more information, visit