The CEO behind the redevelopment of San Antonio's Pearl Brewery complex delivered the commencement address at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) campus Friday, April 11. Ken Halliday of Silver Ventures advised graduates about the importance of passion and priorities during the ceremony. Within the last decade, Silver Ventures has turned Pearl into an emerging urban culinary and cultural destination along the River Walk. The CIA opened a campus at Pearl in 2008. "If you do what you are really passionate about, you will excel at it and you won't work a day in your life," Halliday told 10 recipients of Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees in culinary arts. Halliday encouraged students to keep a balance between their careers and personal lives, something he didn't learn until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. "It was a heck of a wake-up call. My priorities were suddenly in sharp focus. I saw clearly what was really important," said Halliday, adding that he is now doing well medically. "Be clear about what your priorities are and then objectively ask yourself if you are honoring your priorities in how you are living your life." In addition to an AAS in culinary arts, students at the CIA San Antonio can also major in baking and pastry arts. As part of their studies during sophomore year, students work at Nao: New World Flavors, a public restaurant on campus. Generous financial aid is available through the college's El Sueño initiative and other scholarship opportunities. Latin Cuisines Concentration underway May 5 for CIA Hyde Park students A group of students from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) campus in Hyde Park, New York, is preparing to spend the first semester of senior year at the college's campus in San Antonio, focusing on the ingredients, techniques, and cultural traditions of Latin American cuisines. It is part of the CIA's Latin Cuisines Concentration, which launches on May 5—Cinco de Mayo. The students, pursuing bachelor's degrees in culinary arts management from the CIA, will study the foods of Mexico and other Latin American cuisines that are ripe for broader exposure in the United States, including those of Brazil, Peru, Central America, and the Caribbean. They will explore the nuances of flavor development and culinary expression of these cuisines, while learning from expert faculty and visiting instructors, such as award-wining chef Rick Bayless, all under the direction of CIA Chef Sergio Remolina. Students also will be immersed in the history and cultures of these nations and regions. The Latin Cuisines Concentration gives students in-depth knowledge and a valuable specialization in some of the world's most exciting cuisines. Latin meals account for an estimated one-third of all ethnic restaurant sales in the United States. And, the students will be gaining this in-depth knowledge while spending 15 weeks in San Antonio—the gateway to Latin America. During the semester, students will present several special dinners that will be open to the public. Chef Remolina comes to San Antonio to head the program after six years as an assistant professor at the Hyde Park campus, where he was the opening executive chef of the CIA's Bocuse Restaurant and taught Cuisines of the Americas. A former executive chef at the Mexican Embassy in Paris, Chef Remolina was also executive chef and owner of restaurants in Mexico City and Cuidad Juarez. The CIA's Latin Cuisines program joins existing beverage management and farm-to-table cooking held at the college's Greystone campus in California's Napa Valley. From CIA, Jeff Levine, Hyde Park, N.Y.