Sullivan University is proud to announce that two National Center for Hospitality Studies chef instructors have been honored with awards from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kentucky chapter for 2012.

Chef instructor Michael Cunha has received the Chef Educator of the Year award. This award pays tribute to an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills, and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef, and who, by example, has given leadership, guidance and direction to students seeking a career in the culinary profession.

Chef instructor Robert Beighey has received the Chef Professionalism award. This award is presented to the chef who exemplifies the highest standard of professionalism through certification, continuing education and training, culinary competitions, and community involvement. It also honors culinarians who help to elevate the status of chefs and cooks in the United States.

About Chef Michael Cunha

Prior to his employment at Sullivan University, chef Cunha was the operating partner/executive chef at Limestone Restaurant in Louisville.

Prior to that, he was executive chef de cuisine at the Oakroom at the Seelbach Hotel, a AAA five diamond-rated restaurant.

In his career, chef Cunha has participated in five separate James Beard events, including three dinners at the James Beard House, one event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York and one event at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

Chef Cunha’s work has been featured in several periodicals including Louisville Magazine, Southern Living, Wine Spectator, and Nation’s Restaurant News. Chef Cunha has taken an active role in the community, working with the March of Dimes, Hospice Care, the Home of the Innocents, and Family and Children First Foundation.

Chef Cunha is a member of the ACF, The Chaine de Rotisseurs, and the James Beard Foundation. He holds an associate’s degree in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts along with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Johnson and Wales University.

About Chef Robert Beighey

Prior to his appointment at Sullivan University, Robert Beighey held a position as chef instructor at the world famous hotel and resort property, Gaylord Entertainment Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

Chef Beighey was the first and only full time chef instructor for the 20 year ACF-approved apprenticeship program. He also served as the head coach for the junior hot food and Baron Galand Knowledge Bowl teams, which resulted in second place silver medals for both teams in 2001.

Chef Beighey’s culinary education began as an apprentice at the age of 15. He has held almost every position in the back of the house including assistant baker and assistant butcher. He is holds a degree from the Providence, R.I. campus of Johnson and Wales University in culinary arts. He received his Certified Executive Chef designation from the ACF in 2001 and his Certified Culinary Administrators designation in 2006.

In the early spring of 2002, chef Beighey was appointed as membership chair for the ACF Kentucky chapter. Chef Beighey has been involved with the ACF most of his culinary life and officially became a member in 1997.

Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies prepares students for careers in the hospitality field by offering six associate of science degrees, a bachelor of science degree, and a master of business administration degree. All programs of study are taught by highly qualified faculty using the latest contemporary facilities. For more information, visit

Industry News