About Nao

It’s all about fire and heat at the CIA’s restaurant at the Pearl Brewery. At dinner, the open kitchen makes it easy for diners to experience the drama created by cooking with live fire. The contemporary menu offers creatively re-imagined dishes and a highly curated beverage program. This world-class restaurant is operated by students about to graduate from the CIA’s degree program. They work under the supervision of highly experienced chef-instructors and maître d’instructors.


Our Team

Chef-Instructor Vincent CarvalhoChef-Instructor Vincent Carvalho

Vincent Carvalho, a lecturing instructor in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), San Antonio, leads the kitchen at Nao. He came to the CIA in 2017 from Central Market in San Antonio, where he was executive sous chef.

Born in Biarritz, France, Chef Carvalho experienced the rich culinary traditions of the Basque region from an early age. He began his culinary journey in his uncle’s restaurant, then served an apprenticeship at Hotel du Palais, a Leading Hotels of the World property.

Chef Carvalho decided to put his culinary pursuits on hold to follow his other passion, Jai Alai. He played professionally in Europe and the U.S. for two decades before retiring from the game and re-focusing his energy on a culinary career.

His Jai Alai experience landed him in Miami, where he became chef at the Le Meridien Hotel at Sunny Isles Beach. He was also a chef at the Sheraton and Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach. Chef Carvalho moved to San Antonio to become executive sous chef at The Westin La Cantera Hotel & Resort, then held the same position at Central Market before joining the CIA faculty.


Samantha Fletcher, CHE, CIA Maître d’ Instructor at Nao Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.Maître d’ Instructor Samantha Fletcher, CHE

Samantha Fletcher is in charge of front-of-the-house service at Nao. In her role as lecturing instructor at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), she teaches both the Contemporary and Formal Hospitality and Service Management courses, which take place in Nao. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Prior to joining the CIA faculty, Mrs. Fletcher was restaurant guest service manager for Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and for the Norway and United Kingdom Pavilions at EPCOT in Orlando.



The Culinary Institute of America in the Pearl Brewery District, San Antonio, Texas.Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers bachelor’s degree majors in applied food studies, culinary science, food business management, and hospitality management; associate degrees in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts; and executive education through its Food Business School. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of 49,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.