Looking to Reshape and Reinvigorate a Prime Roosevelt Island Venue

Meet Chris Lewis: Cornell Tech café's Dynamic New Leader

David Stone
Meet Chris Lewis: Cornell Tech café's Dynamic New Leader

“I welcome you all to come by and say, Hi,” says Chris Lewis, Cornell Tech café’s new General Manager. “I am always available to discuss all things food!” We'll talk food first, but there’s more to our new neighbor than great things to eat.

Constellation Culinary Group, which runs the café as a resource for the community as well as students, faculty, support staff and visitors at the campus, courted Lewis away from a similar job at Ann Taylor’s Times Square offices.

A New Englander by birth, he opted for work in the San Francisco Bay area after earning a degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Work on the West Coast included time with Microsoft and Lattice Semiconductor under the umbrella of Eurest Dining.

Café at Cornell Tech General Manager, Chris Lewis.
Café at Cornell Tech General Manager, Chris Lewis.

But an opportunity with Yale drew him back East and gave him experience in academic settings to compliment his work meeting the unique nutritional needs of the technology universe.

At Yale, he was involved in the growth of that school’s innovative Sustainable Food Program where part of the harvest is “food-literate leaders.” Among other learning he brings from New Haven come from working “with the Yale student body to develop a forward thinking café operation focused on wellness and innovation.”

All that should resonate well here.

Lewis’s management experience includes overseeing eight regional locations for corporate dining specialist Guckenheimer, where his contributions were broad-based, adding oversight of account openings and special projects along with his culinary expertise.

This brings us to Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus.

When I had a chance to visit with Chris Lewis over coffee in the café, his enthusiasm for his new assignment verged on passion.

The venue itself seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, breathing refreshed focus to a space that’s not just friendly but is graced with an almost supernaturally beautiful environment. Floor to ceiling windows bring sweeping views of meadows where Cornell Tech’s future will expand, Manhattan’s renowned skyline separated by the East River and a look at Long Island City’s expanding towers that will soon include New York’s part of Amazon HQ2.

What careerist in food management wouldn’t be excited?

But, of course, there’s more to Chris Lewis.

For one thing, he and Kathryn are newlyweds.

And, off-campus, he claims to be a “master” at the grill. That he roots for the Mets opens the way for lively discussions while the hot stove circuit rolls toward spring training.

A Yankees fan myself, I’ll look forward to that, but more so, I’m eager to talk with him about his “zest for travel.”

“I’m always looking forward to experiencing new places and far off locations,” Lewis says.

For some, that might mean Roosevelt Island.

Ask him yourself. The very approachable Chris Lewis is now on the job at Cornell Tech’s café.

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