Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Vastine

By Celestina Blok


For Fort Worth native Crystal Vastine, culinary school wasn’t originally top of mind when it came to continuing education. Before she enrolled in the Culinary School of Fort Worth in 2008, the marketing professional already had a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from Texas Christian University. But her passion for good food and drink piqued her interest in potentially pursuing a culinary career.


“I had picked up a magazine called Fort Worth Foodie that was at a wine bar that used to be next to the previous location of the culinary school. I took it as a sign and enrolled the next week,” says Vastine. “During my first semester I bought the rights to the magazine and published it for the next five years.”


Vastine published Fort Worth Foodie from 2008-2013, and the magazine became the original food-driven influencer of Fort Worth. (This was before Instagram existed and before the word “influencer” was a thing.) Vastine used her knowledge gained from culinary school to drive relevant and credible editorial content that kept readers engaged.


“I went into culinary school thinking I wanted to open a restaurant someday. I later learned I wanted to take what I learned in school and share it though my publication,” Vastine says. “Culinarians put their passion on a plate, and I wanted to help others appreciate that and know their stories.”

Watching the iconic classic cooking show Yan Can Cook! with her father on the weekends as a child helped spark Vastine’s interest in food. She says she loved the sound of vegetables being chopped and she and her father would occasionally prepare some of Martin Yan’s recipes together. She also loved her family’s tamale-making gatherings around Christmastime.

“All family events revolve around food, and I loved the way it brought people together,” she says.

During her culinary school tenure, Vastine says the pastry segment was her biggest challenge.


“I tend to cook by feel and tasting along the way,” she says. “Baking requires much more preparation in advance to ensure the product comes out as planned without the ability to adjust mid-process.”

She also gained an appreciation for restaurant service after working a pasta station during a culinary school brunch.


“I incorrectly assumed it would be the easiest station to take on,” she says. “It taught me a lot about timing, quality and consistency.”


One of her most memorable culinary school moments was during a wine pairing class led by guest instructor and Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell. Students had to shop for and prepare three courses to pair with wines he chose.


“One of my courses was the only one that chef Bonnell said was restaurant-ready and that he would serve with no changes,” Vastine says. “It was the absolute highlight of my time at the Culinary School of Fort Worth.”

Vastine also loved collaborating with other students and learning how they wanted to use their skills after graduation. Some wanted to work in fine dining; others wanted to become private chefs or caterers; and some wanted to embark on a career in meal planning.


“There were so many directions that I had not considered before, and I enjoyed being exposed to new ideas,” she says.

Today Vastine still feeds her passion for good food and drink as the face behind Fort Worth Foodie on Instagram (@fwfoodie). With nearly 50 thousand followers, she’s built a loyal fanbase who look to her as the original Fort Worth Foodie and a Fort Worth native showcasing the best of the culinary scene in Fort Worth. Vastine is also on the board of directors for the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival and manages the festival’s social media efforts.

While Vastine graduated more than 10 years ago in 2009, she says the education and skills she received from the Culinary School of Fort Worth still gives her insight and credibility today throughout her leadership roles and sharing her foodie finds.


“I truly enjoy encouraging others to try something locally owned,” she says. “Whether it’s a place that’s new or been around for years, something that they may not have thought about otherwise.”

Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Vastine
Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Vastine



Most schools can teach you the techniques of cooking and baking but The CSFTW excels at preparing you for the real-world kitchen. With our small class sizes and chef instructors who are intentional with every student, you will receive more one-on-one instruction and insight. Our school boasts in preparing students to exemplify excellence in their culinary community. We are a small, unique school that focuses on the student’s needs and we take great joy in seeing our students succeed in the culinary industry.

Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Vastine