CIA's Tim Ryan Named One of '50 Greatest Pittsburghers of All Time'
What do Jonas Salk, Andy Warhol, Mister Rogers, and The Culinary Institute of America President Tim Ryan have in common? All are on the Pittsburgh Magazine list of the 50 Greatest Pittsburghers of All Time.
During his 37 years at The Culinary Institute of America—the last 17 as the college’s president—Dr. Ryan has always honored his Pittsburgh roots and how they shaped his life story. Now his hometown is honoring him, with the magazine’s editors selecting him as one of the 50 men and women from Pittsburgh who have had the greatest impact both locally and nationally over the last 200 years.
Dr. Ryan has been a revolutionary leader in generating the sustained excellence, innovation, and growth that shaped the CIA and the direction of culinary education. Dr. Ryan has guided the college to a position of prominence on such important matters as health and wellness, world flavors, food ethics, and sustainability. Under his direction, the CIA has expanded to open new locations in San Antonio, TX; Napa, CA; and Singapore. Dr. Ryan has established landmark educational and professional programs, including collaborations with Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon; a master’s degree in Food Business; and new bachelor’s majors in Food Business Management, Culinary Science, Applied Food Studies, and Hospitality Management.
He also captained the U.S. Culinary Team, leading it to victories at the first Culinary World Cup and the Culinary Olympics—serving American cuisine—against teams of talented chefs from all around the globe. Tim Ryan is recognized as a pioneer in the American cuisine movement, not only for his success in international competitions, but also for his pivotal role in developing the CIA’s groundbreaking American Bounty Restaurant in 1982. He holds the distinction of being the youngest national president of the American Culinary Federation and was named the organization’s Chef of the Year in 1998. Perennially named “One of the 50 Most Powerful People in Food” by Nation’s Restaurant News, Dr. Ryan much sought out for his views on the future of the food world. He is also a director of the National Restaurant Association and serves on the board of its Educational Foundation.
This is not the first time that Dr. Ryan has been recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine. In 1980, Ryan—then the 22-year-old executive chef of La Normande—was featured on the cover, in an issue devoted to the city’s burgeoning food scene at the time and he was cited as one of the young chefs who were leading the charge. La Normande, now closed, is still considered to be the finest restaurant in Pittsburgh’s distinguished history.
Dr. Ryan epitomizes what the CIA is all about—transforming lives. From modest beginnings, he cultivated his craft at the college and rose through the culinary ranks back in Pittsburgh, before returning to his alma mater to teach and eventually become its president.
“At CIA commencement ceremonies, I advise graduates to ‘dream big dreams,’” Dr. Ryan says. “Pittsburgh is where I first saw the opportunities the food world could offer and, thanks to my CIA education and the chefs who mentored me, my career has taken me from the dishroom to the boardroom. Earning this recognition, among names all Pittsburghers grew up knowing, is bigger than the biggest dream I could ever have had.”
The household names on the list are known not only in Western Pennsylvania, but throughout the United States and around the world. Luminaries such as Jonas Salk, Andy Warhol, Fred Rogers, H.J. Heinz, Martha Graham, Roberto Clemente, and Andrew Carnegie also grace the list, which was developed to mark the magazine’s 50th anniversary.
Dr. Ryan will receive his award during a gala ceremony at the Heinz Field Champions Club on January 14.