First Woman Executive Chef on Las Vegas Strip Advises CIA Graduates
Hyde Park, NY, October 3, 2012 – Susan Wolfla, executive chef at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, welcomed graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to careers in the food world that will be rewarding, challenging, and inspiring. The 1994 CIA graduate delivered the commencement address at the college's Hyde Park, NY campus on Friday, September 28, 2012.
"As chefs, we have chosen one of the most rewarding careers out there," said Wolfla, the first woman executive chef ever at a major hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, where she leads a team of 30 chefs and 550 cooks. "The career of a chef challenges us in every way: physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. This challenge has always inspired me. I hope it will inspire you."
Chef Wolfla told 58 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts that they will be uniquely positioned at the forefront of important issues like sustainability, conservation, and the environment. But to do so, she advised graduates to stay fit, seek out and maintain mentor relationships, have a good balance between work and home life, be open to new challenges, and have fun.
The Indiana native began her culinary career as an entry-level cook at the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis. In addition to her CIA degree, Susan Wolfla holds a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology from Purdue University.
CIA alumna Susan Wolfla '94, the first woman executive chef on the Las Vegas Strip, delivers the commencement address at her alma mater on September 28, 2012. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)