Staff

Chris Becker
Chris Becker BS, MSL, CEO
Chef, educator, author and restaurateur. As the Founder of the California School of Culinary Arts and the Kitchen Academy, Chris has been the creative force behind the most significant culinary programs in the United States for three decades. In 2000 he was part of the team that brought Le Cordon Bleu to North America and introduced the classic French canon to culinary education. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, a Masters of Science in Leadership from Walden University and was awarded an Honorary Grande Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in 2004 for his lifetime contributions to education.
Carol Cotner Thompson
Carol Cotner Thompson Director of Culinary Education
A true industry veteran, Carol Cotner Thompson has over 33 years professional cooking experience and over 24 years experience in culinary education. A graduate of both the professional cooking and pastry programs at the California Culinary Academy, Thompson has since taken on a wide array of professional endeavors, including restaurant consulting, television and print food styling and on-camera chef work, recipe and curriculum development and stints as a personal chef. Thompson organizes a yearly culinary retreat to Southern France with the program Raison D’Art to explore the countryside and inspire students to engage in France’s unique culinary environment.
Laura Weinman
Laura Weinman AOS, Chef Instructor – Recreational and Professional Programs
Laura has been cooking professionally since before attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1986. Laura joined the New School staff in 2006, and brings to our students a wealth of experience – over 30 years - and a wide and varied skill set in the savory and pastry kitchen as well as experience in specialty diets and health related food service. Laura completed the 16 months Culinary Arts Program at the California Culinary Academy in addition to coursework in philosophy at Georgetown University.
May Hennemann
May Hennemann AOS, BA, Chef Instructor – Recreational and Professional Programs
May has been a member of the New School faculty since 2001. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in 1998, chef had a varied career in fine food before becoming a teacher, including private chef, pastry chef, food writer and food buyer. May holds an Associates of Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of American and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Chicago.
Jessica Hilton
Jessica Hilton BA, Instructor – Recreational and Professional Programs
Chef Hilton is a 2003 graduate of New School of Cooking and holds credentials in Nutrition as an Educator and Consultant from Bauman College in Berkeley, California as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Drew University. Chef has worked extensively as a personal chef and teacher and has been a member of the New School since 2010 teaching in both the ProSeries and recreational classes.
Brigitte Scharetg
Brigitte Scharetg BA, Chef Instructor
Brigitte is the newest member of the New School faculty. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and a Certificate in Culinary Arts from the Napa Valley Cooking School in St. Helena, California.
Renée Loux
Renée Loux Chef Instructor
Renée Loux has been a trendsetter in the sustainable food and environmental movements for more than 15 years and is a leading expert in progressive culinary arts including vegetarian, vegan, raw foods, macrobiotics, gluten-free and farm-to-table cuisine. She founded one of America's first raw food restaurants, the Raw Experience, in 1996, was a founding partner of Mala Wailea Restaurant in Maui, Hawaii and has published The Whole Green Catalog, Easy Green Living, the Gourmand Award-winning The Balanced Plate, and Living Cuisine.