From our friend and colleague Tim Ryan, CIA class of 1977:
This weekend the Culinary Institute of America lost two long-serving and much beloved faculty members. Chef Wayne Almquist passed away on Friday, and Chef Jim Heywood left us on Sunday.
Born in New Jersey, Chef Almquist did an apprenticeship in the legendary kitchens of The Waldorf-Astoria, and he often regaled his students about his days there. He was a Chef Tournant at The Four Seasons Restaurant in its early days, worked in a variety of high end country clubs, and then ran his own restaurants in Bloomfield, New Jersey and on New York’s Long Island. He became a member of the CIA faculty in 1973, teaching a course called “Culinary Theory and Demonstration," in which he demonstrated all of the basic fundamentals of cooking to new students before they were allowed to try them in the school’s production kitchens. Theatrical by nature, Wayne was very comfortable performing demos all day long, and he used his easy wit to keep the classes fun and interesting.
Over the years Wayne taught many other courses, but Skill Development was his favorite. He always knew the importance of laying a solid culinary foundation for our students. Wayne also understood the stresses of life and developed an easy rapport with his charges. He made himself available to them after class, and was tremendously involved in a host of extracurricular activities including serving as the advisor to the Service Club for more than two decades, establishing a CIA Choir, and producing theatre productions on campus. Wayne officially “retired” in January of 2005, but by February he was back on campus as Ombudsman, a counselor and advisor to our student body. His culinary knowledge and experience, quick wit , big laugh, fatherly concern, and love for the CIA made Wayne Almquist a favorite of several generations of CIA students---myself included.
After completing his military service, Jim Heywood attended the CIA at the original New Haven campus, and quickly established himself as a hard working and talented student with a no-nonsense demeanor and a can-do attitude. Upon graduation he became a fellowship student, the CIA's old term for what we now call an MIT (Manager In Training). Jim so impressed then President Jacob Rosenthal,Vice President of Education Leroi (Duke) Folsom, and his faculty colleagues, that he was made a senior fellowship, and eventually promoted to faculty status. When the school made the move from New Haven to Hyde Park, Jim was one of the pioneering faculty members, along with Fritz Sonnenschmidt, Noble Masi, Richard Czack, Bruno Ellmer, and Walter Schreyer--- who formed the culinary foundation upon which our reputation was built. Several years ago we honored the surviving members of that group with the designation---Heritage Professors.
Jim was a tremendously talented and innovative garde manger, with particular expertise in cured and smoked foods. He was also my partner in developing The American Bounty Restaurant, whose 30th anniversary we are celebrating this year.
Although he was born in Boston, Jim developed a love for barbeque and chili and competed all across the country, winning championships and a much deserved reputation for his now famous "Hogsbreath Chili." Jim had a larger than life personality underscored by his nickname "Big Jim." His practiced gruff persona transparently masked a heart of gold.
He loved the CIA, and generations of CIA students, alumni, faculty and staff---loved him back. Jim’s wife Liz is an alumna, and served as a Fellowship in the Escoffier Room with Claudio Papini, and was also a member of the CIA faculty. Jim and Liz have two sons, Chris and Tim. Chis is also a CIA alumnus – class of 1995
The CIA will have a service in the near future honoring Jim and Wayne. We will let the CIA Alumni Network know the details as soon as they are available.
God Bless Chefs Wayne Almquist and Jim Heywood.
Tim Ryan ‘77