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Alumni Spotlight Archive
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Alumni Spotlight: Joe Vigorito, Class of 1997

Why did your family chose Kennedy for your education? My mom was adamant about me getting a great education. Kennedy's curriculum was simply the best choice to achieve that goal.

What is your favorite Kennedy memory? Traveling to Europe the summer before my senior year. It was a life changing experience that sparked a lifetime love for travel and an appreciation for other cultures.

Did you have a teacher or class that was a major influence on you?
Mr. Beltz, Biology 1 & 2. He was an amazing teacher who was very engaging and had a great ability to blend humor into complicated subject matter.

Education/Professional Experience
College(s) attended / Degreeā€™s Held / Graduation Year: The Ohio State University, BA '03; The French Culinary Institute, Grande Diplome in Culinary Arts '03; The French Culinary Institute/Cornell University, Certificate in Restaurant Management '03

What career did you choose and tell us a little bit about how you got there. Culinary Arts. I was raised around the table in a family that loved to cook and loved to eat even more. When I left for college, that food I had grown up with, and that environment were missing. As a result, I started to cook. First for myself and some roommates, then for more friends. It was a spark that led me to seriously consider culinary school and life as a cook. My grandmothers were great cooks, my mom is a great cook, my dad was a cook in the Army. I figured, why not? So I took the leap and left for New York City one month after I graduated from OSU. I lucked out and found an apartment (forever grateful to Janelle Mitolo and her cousin Amanda Clark-Vaughn), went to a great culinary school and have been blessed to work for some of the best chefs in the country.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? Being given the reigns as the Executive Chef at L'Artusi, West Village, NYC has been an incredible journey of which I am extremely proud. Being invited to cook at the James Beard House was something that I will always be grateful for. The best chefs in the world have cooked there and I was honored to have been invited.
What is a specific piece of advice you would give to a Kennedy senior? Make sure to travel as much and as far as you can. Eat the food of other cultures, see the world through their eyes. Be accepting of differences, they are what makes life interesting. How boring life would be if we were all the same. Just be kind to others, especially those who don't look like you or have the same beliefs. It sounds simple but don't lose sight of it.