What a great day I had at Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, New York)! I met Ryan Welshhon (Manager – CIA Consulting Relationships) at Poughkeepsie’s Railway Station, and he gave me a grand tour of the campus area of CIA. It was ‘almost like entering a Harry Potter movie’– except that students were all cooks and servers!!
CIA offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, applied food studies and culinary sciences as well as certificate programs for advance studies.
Campus area and Housing
The location of CIA Hyde Park campus is right next to Hudson River, providing a magnificent view to river area. Student housings are behind the main campus area. First year students generally have an option for ‘normal dorm rooms’, but bachelor students have a possibility to get an apartment style housing.
Meals and The Egg
Meals for students are offered through a ‘Meal Plan‘ options, which encourages students to try new foods, taste new flavors, and broaden their perceptions of the culinary world. The standard meal plan included in the board fee uses a points system, loading points onto each student ID card equivalent to two meals per scheduled class day. In addition to the Meal Plan, 28,000-square-foot facility, called The Egg, has been created to both feed and educate the nation’s future tastemakers.
The Egg offers a broad range of healthful and cutting-edge food options to students in a setting overlooking the Hudson River. CIA-college has integrated the principles of the CIA’s Menus of Change® initiative into a variety of food offerings. These principles include increasing use of vegetables and fruits, developing dishes where meat plays more of a supporting role, making more of the grain options whole grain, and creating conscious menus that promote health and sustainability.
Student’s daily life
Courses may start as early as 5 AM – 8 AM; including morning courses and afternoon courses starting at 1PM. Study periods are just three weeks long – quite intensive learning periods, I must say! If student misses just one day, he or she may get a letter reduction towards to the total grade in a course in question. Three or more missed days will generally lead to a failed course; including an expensive fee for a student to pay.
Every day, before the start of the course, student must have their personal activity & study plan ready in order to be accepted to stay in a class. This plan has to be shown to an instructor who will either reject or accept it.
The Egg school building offers also great exercise facilities for students; such as swimming pool, gym and a large indoor exercise hall.
Farm to Table and Plant Based Foods
CIA college is committed to building relationships with local purveyors, and you can find a list of some farmers and procures from here. I believe this is something that more and more restaurants in Finland should also provide; a list of farmers and producers where restaurant receives some of it’s products!!
Plant based food is also another philosophy that CIA college wants to promote to future graduating professionals, according to Ryan Welshhon. It is not only the meat that provides protein! ‘The old school system’ has so strongly taught the idea of a plate model where 1/2 of the plate is filled with meat, and other 1/4 with vegetables and another 1/4 with starch. We need to now also consider the vast variety of plant based options and increase it’s focus on a plate model.
Students at CIA are finding more plant-based foods and whole grains in the teaching kitchens than ever before. CIA students pursuing a bachelor’s degree also learn to bring health and wellness to their future customers through courses such as the Science of Nutrition, Flavor Science and Perception, Consumer Behavior, and Foodservice Management in Health Care.
Edible Gardens at CIA
Morning and Afternoon courses
View to a kitchen
One of the many kitchens
A camera to broadcast live cooking shows
Point system for selecting healthy items
Food is life
'Mise en place' are ready for a work station