From City Chicken To The Culinary Institute, Tim Ryan Says Pittsburgh Never Left His Fork

East Liberty native Tim Ryan grew up wanting to be an attorney, not a chef, but an early stint at dishwashing changed his mind. 

"You got to watch this theater of the kitchen -- flames and knives and all this activity -- and it was kind of fascinating. I was enchanted by it," said Ryan, now president of the Culinary Institute of America. "I got paid in cash and got a steak dinner at the end of the night, so I thought, 'Wow. This is for me.'"

Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America, announced the Institute is considering a new campus in Barcelona in addition to branches in New York, Texas, and Singapore.
Credit Phil Mansfield / Culinary Institute of America

Ryan later studied in France under the world-renowned chef Paul Bocuse before bringing his skills back to Pittsburgh at La Normande. He became the youngest person at the time to earn a Master Chef certification, and under his influence, the CIA has become one of the most recognized culinary schools in the world, driving techonological innovation, adding more business courses and establishing new campuses in Texas, Singapore and Barcelona.

Despite his travels, Ryan says he hasn't forgotten his hometown.

“I think about Pittsburgh every day, and I feel very blessed and fortunate to have been born here,” he said.

Later in the program, Jason Rivers and his family created the AR3 Celebration of Life Foundation more than a decade ago to honor the memory of his brother, Anthony Rivers, who was murdered in 2008. The foundation organizes basketball tournaments and other activities. Elaine Effort reports about the foundation's pursuit of deeper healing through forgiveness and restorative justice.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is conducting an internal investigation after a drunken bar fight in the South Side between undercover officers and members of the Pagans motorcycle club. Criminal charges filed against the Pagans were dropped, but discipline against the officers could be difficult to enforce, since the bureau has no formal alcohol policy for its undercover unit.

And the inmate population in Pennsylvania state prisons dropped 2.2 percent in 2018 – the largest drop on record. State corrections secretary John Wetzel says he's celebrating the decline, but a lot more needs to be done to address ongoing racial disparity in Pennsylvania state prisons. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.