Graduates of CNM: Jared Ward

Jared studied Culinary Arts at CNM and went on to become head chef at Scalo, a well-known Italian restaurant in Albuquerque
March 31, 2022

Ever since he was a kid, Jared Ward knew he wanted to become a chef. What started as a way of getting out of other chores by volunteering to help his mom and grandma in the kitchen ended up resulting in a lifelong passion for food and cooking.

“I found out early on that if I was inside helping cook with my mom or grandma, I didn’t have to be outside pulling weeds with my brothers and doing yard work,” Jared says.

Jared got his first restaurant job at 14, and by 19 he was already working as a sous chef at a country club in his hometown of Farmington. Then in 2014 he made the move to Albuquerque to study at CNM’s Culinary Arts program.

Attending CNM was a no-brainer for Jared due to the program’s low-cost and reputation for being one of the best in the region. He credits instructors like Brianna Davis and Scott Clapp for opening the door to new opportunities and challenging him to grow as a chef. 

“CNM’s instructors pushed me to do better by trying to get me to think about things from a different perspective and ask lots of questions,” Jared says.

Since graduating from CNM in 2019, Jared has worked as a chef at a number of Albuquerque establishments including Savoy, Hyatt Regency Downtown, and the Sawmill Market. In April 2021, he became sous chef at Scalo, a Nob Hill restaurant well-known for its Italian Cuisine, and was recently promoted to head chef, which is a position Jared describes as a dream come true.

“I enjoy everything about it, from the cooking to being able to come up with menus and visiting with our guests,” he says. “It’s exciting to watch someone take that first bite and see them look happy, or better yet when they start sharing their food.”

For Jared, working at a place like Scalo is especially rewarding because it gives him the chance to flex his artistic muscles.

“I’ve worked in a lot of fine dining, and I’ve come to really appreciate the artistry of the plating. People eat with their eyes first, so I love being able to create something that not only tastes really good but also looks really good,” Jared says.

While Jared is in no rush to leave Scalo, he also doesn’t rule out the possibility of someday opening his own restaurant with his wife, who he met while attending CNM’s Culinary Arts program.

“When it came to baking and pastry, she was always at the top of the class and I was second, and then for savory, I was first and she was second,” Jared says.

As for what advice he would give to aspiring chefs, Jared says it’s hard work but worth it in the end.

“If you have the passion for it, you’ll thrive and have success,” he says.