L. Timothy Ryan

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Lawrence Timothy Ryan (born January 16, 1958) is a Certified Master Chef and the current president of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Ryan graduated the CIA in 1977 and joined the school's faculty in 1982, and later moved to administration before heading the education division. He became the first CIA alumnus and faculty member to become president of the college in 2001, and is the college's fifth president. Prior to returning to the CIA as a faculty member, he spent five years as a chef in different aspects of the culinary industry. Ryan has received numerous accolades throughout his career from the American Culinary Federation, James Beard Foundation, and various other organizations.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Ryan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1958. At age 13, he began washing dishes at a restaurant in Pittsburgh. By the time he went to high school, he had decided he wanted to be a chef and enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, he worked as assistant chef at Ben Gross' Restaurant in Irwin, Pennsylvania and then as executive chef at La Normande in Pittsburgh. He also traveled to France to gain experience in several French restaurants. While in France, he was approached by the CIA to join the faculty, and returned to the school as a chef-instructor in 1982.[2]

Later that year, he became part of the CIA's team that developed the school’s American Bounty Restaurant. He worked his way up through the ranks at the college serving a number of roles—department head for culinary education, director of culinary education, vice president of education, and executive vice president—before being named president.

College presidency[edit]

In 2001, Ferdinand Metz, president of The Culinary Institute of America for more than 20 years, stepped down to become president emeritus of the college.[3] After an extensive search to fill the vacancy, the college's board of trustees elected Tim Ryan from a group of finalists at its meeting in New York City on October 11, 2001. On November 1, 2001, Ryan began his tenure as the fifth president of The Culinary Institute of America.[4] Following his appointment, Ryan said, "My mission is to take a great institution and make it even better. In doing so we will move in some new and quite exciting directions. It is sort of like being named the manager of the New York Yankees—that is a pretty good place to be. We want to preserve the continuity. But at the same time it is a new world and there are plenty of challenges. We are going to change to meet those challenges."[5]

Highlights of Ryan’s presidency include expansion of student housing facilities and a new admissions center on the Hyde Park campus; the launch of associate degree programs at the CIA at Greystone; and the 2008 opening of the college's second branch campus, The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.[6]

On April 23, 2008, the school faculty voted no confidence in his presidency, by a vote of 85 to 9.[7] The board subsequently confirmed unanimously their confidence in him and extended his contract.[7]


Ryan's education started at the CIA with his Associate of Occupational Studies degree.[1] He then attained a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from the University of New Haven. His Doctorate degree was earned from the University of Pennsylvania.

Honors, awards, and affiliations[edit]

Tim Ryan became a Certified Master Chef at the age of 27, one of the youngest in the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) history. He was also the youngest president of the ACF at the age of 36. In 1998, Ryan was named "Chef of the Year" by the ACF and has been one of five Americans to receive a "Presidential medallion" from the World Association of Chefs Societies. In 2007, Chef Ryan was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) honored him with a 2009 Silver Plate Award in the "Specialty Foodservices" category.

In 2010, Ryan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America, a group that the foundation lists as the most accomplished food and beverage workers in the United States.[8] He was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Foodservice Educators Network International in 2012, and the University of California, Los Angeles presented him with its 2013 Innovation Award. In 2014, Ryan was named one of the 50 most powerful people in the restaurant industry on the Nation's Restaurant News Power List.

Ryan is on the board of the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, a past member and chairman of The National Culinary Review, and an editorial advisory committee member for Cheers, Seafood Business, and Take Out Business magazines. He also has served as keynote speaker at a number of industry events, including the 2009 International Foodservice Congress in Madrid, Spain and the 2010 Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education Leadership Conference.[9]


  1. ^ a b The Culinary Institute of America, President's Cabinet, retrieved on 10-01-08.
  2. ^ New York Restaurant Insider, An Inside Look at America’s Finest Culinary Schools
  3. ^ Business Wire, The Culinary Institute of America Announces Leadership Transition Plan
  4. ^ "Tim Ryan named new CIA president". allbusiness.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Food Management, CIA names Ryan president-elect; plans new programs, endowment growth
  6. ^ The Austin Chronicle, Sueños Latinos: The dream of promoting Latin American cuisines is realized at the new San Antonio Culinary Institute of America campus
  7. ^ a b "Faculty and Board at Odds Over President of Culinary Institute" by Richard Byrne, Chronicle of Higher Education April 25, 2008, accessed April 25, 2008
  8. ^ "James Beard Foundation Awards 2010". jbfawards.com. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Perishable News, Culinary Institute of America Head To Keynote CAFE