Chef Kevin Gillespie, Art Institute of Atlanta Culinary Arts Grad and Bravo “Top Chef” Finalist Named Alumni of the Year

Chef Kevin Gillespie, a 2003 culinary arts graduate of The Art Institute of Atlanta and a finalist on Bravo’s "Top Chef" in 2009, has been named the college’s Alumni of the Year for 2010. He was presented with a special award at the winter graduation on December 17, where he was also the keynote speaker.

Kevin Gillespie is a native of Atlanta, and for him coming to The Art Institute of Atlanta was a natural progression. His parents took him to the Atlanta campus for a tour of the culinary program when he was a youngster — and he was hooked. Chef Gillespie was also hooked early on competition. As a high school senior, he entered The Art Institutes Best Teen Chef Scholarship Competition, won the local competition, and placed sixth in the national competition. After graduation, Chef Gillespie first worked at the Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, then briefly was a sous chef at two other restaurants. As he told “Points North” Magazine, “It wasn’t my kind of thing: the large, super-hip, ultra-busy kind of restaurant.” So he went to work at the Woodfire Grill for two years, under renowned Chef Michael Tuohy, before moving to Portland (OR). As a foodie, he loved Portland. But he missed his family back home and soon returned to Atlanta – and the Woodfire Grill, where he is now part owner and executive chef, moving into those positions after Chef Tuohy moved to California. His menu changes daily to incorporate fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients from small local farms and vendors.

The Art Institute of Atlanta (Atlanta campus) is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Art Institute of Atlanta, including its branch campuses — The Art Institute of Atlanta–Decatur, The Art Institute of Charleston, The Art Institute of Tennessee–Nashville, The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, The Art Institute of Washington, and The Art Institute of Washington–Northern Virginia — is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of The Art Institute of Atlanta. The Art Institute of Atlanta ( is one of The Art Institutes (, a system of more than 45 educational institutions throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion, and culinary arts professionals.

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