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Chef Rashad Armstead: Culinary Leader, IOT Graduate

You may know him from his 2019 championship on The Food Network’s Chopped, or from the Oakland-based Black Food Collective that he founded in 2017. Perhaps you’ve even been to his first restaurant, Crave BBQ—or to one of its celebrated pop-up installations in the Bay Area. Regardless of how you first heard the name, it’s clear that Chef Rashad Armstead is making his mark on Californian cuisine.

What you might not know, however, is that Chef Rashad’s time at the Institute of Technology played an important early role in his career. While earning an Associate’s Degree at IOT, Chef Rashad developed the skills he’d need to land his first lead line cook position at Blu La Café in Los Angeles! We couldn’t be more proud to name Chef Rashad Armstead as an alumnus.

Chef Rashad has developed his passion for cooking and sharing from a very young age, and as the grandson of restaurateur, cookbook author, and show host Chef Sarah Rawls, it’s safe to say that he had history on his side. In his own words, “There was a piece of my mind and heart that was brought down to me from my family, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my friends — and I brought it into the kitchen.”* 

Of course, that sense of history hasn’t stopped him from experimenting and testing out new ideas at every stage of his life so far. On the contrary, it has empowered him to build a growing program to support the innovations and ideas of others, and to deepen collective bonds through the joy that only great food can bring. The Black Food Collective and the Crave Restaurant Group—another of Chef Rashad’s projects—both work tirelessly to support and secure funding for Black-owned food-related businesses. Each project is a testament to Chef Rashad’s commitment, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Congratulations, Chef Rashad! Here at IOT, we’re wishing you nothing but continued success.




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