Sunday, April 29, 2012

Off Campus: Historic Hyde Park

Did you know that before the CIA was the World's Premier Culinary College, we were home to a Jesuit Seminary called St. Andrews on the Hudson?

The area of Hyde Park, NY is truly a history buff's dream,

and the CIA is not the only thing that makes it so.

When perspective students come to the area to visit the CIA, they might want to check out some other interesting and historical places that lie only five minutesor so from campus.

I've put together a small list of unique places to discover when you come to the area. All of these spots are great for day trips with the family, and offer some more historical information on the Hyde Park Area besides visiting the school itself.

The Roosevelt Mansion:

    This is the home of the only President elected for four terms, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Mansion, otherwise known as Springwood, was near and dear to FDR's heart, and one of the only places he considered home. If you just want to pass through, the burial site and rose gardens are open for free from dawn to dusk. On the other hand, tickets are $14 and include two-day admission to the house as well as admission to the Presidential Library and Museum.

Vanderbilt Mansion:

    This is one of the smaller homes owned by the Vanderbilt family, known as their "summer cottage" (although those who visit the house will think otherwise, since it's a stunning gilded-age structure that looks almost like a stately bank or government building!). The property is a sprawling 200 acres of gardens, bike paths, walkways, and scenic river views that offer picturesque spots to picnic or have a fun afternoon with your friends. You can even take a tree-lined walk right down to the banks of the Hudson River. The Vanderbilt grounds are free to visit, but if you want to take the 45 minute tour of  the house, it costs $8 a person (children 15 and under are free).

Walkway Over the Hudson:

    This suspension bridge, which used to be an old railroad bridge, was transformed into a public park in 2009, and passes directly over the Hudson River. The 1.23 mile-long bridge is the perfect thing for a beautiful spring day, and it offers spectacular views of the River, as well as the buildings and houses that lie on either side of it. Admission is free, and feel free to bring your dog to enjoy the stroll with you!

Eveready Diner:

    When your day trip is complete, be sure to stop at one of the most popular Hyde Park dining establishments, the Eveready Diner, for a bite to eat. This classic American-style diner is the real deal, and serves anything you could ever want, from stacks of light and fluffy pancakes, to slabs of tender meatloaf, to massive brownie sundaes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served 24 hours a day, and will not disappoint!

I hope that this list has inspired you to check out the Hyde Park area. 
So after you've had your breakfast at the Eveready and spent the day visiting the historic sites,
make sure to book a reservation at our on-campus restaurants
and make the day even more memorable! 

stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

CIA Dining Spotlight: Apple Pie Bakery & Cafe

If you're looking for some great pastries for breakfast,
a scrumptious lunch,
or a cake or pie to take home to Mom,
then the Apple Pie Bakery & Cafe is the place to be!

The bakery is one of five student-run restaurants here on the CIA campus, and the only establishment currently operated by students in the Baking and Pastry Arts program.

    As a Baking and Pastry student, the Apple Pie is one of the capstone classes that students pursuing their Associates degree are required to complete. Today, I will explain what life is like at the Apple Pie, and fill you in on what they serve so you can go and experience it yourself!

    Baking and Pastry students spend a total of six weeks working in the bakery, or "Apple Pie" as it is fondly known. Three of these weeks are focused on working in the back of the house and producing all of the products that are served to Apple Pie customers. The next  three weeks are then spent in the front of the house learning how to serve tables, expedite orders, and interact with customers. 
Apple Pie's ultimate Mac & Cheese

    During their three weeks in the back of the house, students can choose to specialize in either Breads, Pastry, or Savory food production. Those in the Breads section produce all of the bread products, cookies, muffins, and laminated pastries that are served in the cafe. Those in the Pastry section produce all of the small cakes, chocolates, macaroons, and specialty desserts. Lastly, those in the Savory section produce all of the food available for lunch in the cafe and work the savory line which composes and plates each item. 

    In the front of the house, students can choose from one of many stations that work together successfully to make the Cafe run at its' fullest potential. Whether working the Barista station making lattes, expediting all of the savory food, or serving and clearning tables, students are able to interact with Cafe guests and learn the important aspect of hospitality in a real setting. 

    All of the food creations that are served at the Apple Pie are dreamt up by the talented Chef Fransisco Migoya. Besides being trained extensively in both savory and pastry, Chef worked as the Executive Pastry Chef at Thomas Keller's French Laundry, as well as Buchon Bakery. He is the creative mind behind all of the bread, pastry, and savory products that are served in the cafe. Front of the House operations are handled by Maitre d'Instructor, Mauro Sessarego. Professor Sessarego's impeccable hospitality skills came from working many years in both Italy and the United States, including managing the World famous Harry's Bar in Genoa.

The Apple Pie Bakery is open from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and they serve lunch from 11AM until close. If you are interested in more information, visit Apple Pie's web pageFacebook page, or give them a call at 845-905-4500.
Be sure to visit this scrumptious eatery and see all of the magic yourself!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cooking = Passion


This single word is one of the most common ways to describe the love and admiration that people in the culinary industry have for food and cooking. 

And the CIA is no exception. Passion is something that courses through the veins of every student, chef, and food enthisuast that walks through the front doors of Roth Hall.

If you ask any CIA student how they got their start, how they found this "passion" that drove them to the "Harvard of Culinary Schools", they will most likely have an inspiring story describing their life experiences with food that ultimately rendered the passion they possess today.

For me, the urge to attend such an amazing school started when I was in eighth grade, when I visited the CIA on a tour with my Grandmother. Standing beneath Roth Hall's beautiful wooden and stained-glass doors, I soaked up every sight, sound, and scent of the Culinary. Chefs whisked quickly by me on their way to classes, adjusting their knife kits on their shoulders, the smell of chicken stock wafted through the air...was I in culinary Heaven???

Earlier this week, I met a young girl who reminded me a little of myself, and she was filled to the brim with a passion for food. A good friend had invited me to lunch, explaining that we would also be dining with this young lady, whom she had met in New York City while cooking at the Bryant Park Kid's Food Festival. Her father had taken her to the CIA this particular day as a surprise for her birthday.

When I shook hands with "Teen Chef G", otherwise known as Georgia Catanese, I could see that her reactions to the school were quite similar to the ones I had experienced several years ago. 

While we munched on fries and turkey sandwiches at the Apple Pie Bakery, Georgia and her father Joseph, both from Wyckoff, NJ, told me all about Georgia's passion for food. At only 12 years old, Georgia loves to put her spin on any recipe she can get her hands on.

"She'll take a recipe, like jambalaya," explained Joseph, "and instead of chorizo, she'll use chicken sausage, or she'll mix up the spices." Georgia chimed in with a story about a batch of blueberry cupcakes that, she stressed, were made completely from scratch, and had a combination of fresh blueberries, blueberry filling, and homemade frosting. As a baker, I was impressed that Georgia decided to bypass the boxed mixes and create her own. 

 Her creative approach to cooking and her sweet and sassy personality is surely a winning combination, and let me tell you, this girl is strong too. Georgia was born requiring a cochlear implant (she now has one for each ear), meaning that she is severely deaf. Her Mother also passed away from cancer, leaving her as head chef of her household. Despite all of these things, she has overcome so much and, I believe, is on her way to a great culinary future. 

Any 12-year-old who can hold a complex conversation about Food Network chefs Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray, dyes part of her hair pink (she's super proud of it too), and makes sure that you "get her card" and check with her "manager" (or father) so that she can network, is destined for greatness.

Georgia's passion for food is inspiring, and hopefully you are able to see that passion in yourself when you cook. I can't wait to see Georgia at the CIA someday!

So readers, how did your passion for food come about?

I'd love to know!

stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

If you're interested in learning more about Teen Chef G,check out her Facebook page or her Youtube channel for more information.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Campus Happenings: April

With Easter coming up this weekend, I figured that I would give you all a taste
of the great things happening on the CIA campus for the Easter holiday weekend, as well as the month of April!

The many clubs and organizations that we have on campus assure that there is a huge variety of events happening every week/weekend in order to give students something free and fun to do.

April is no exception, and we have some pretty awesome things happening here at the Culinary!

Google Images

April 7th- Peep Show:

The Peep Show is an annual event at the CIA, and it sure is unique. For the students who choose to stay on campus for the long weekend, this event is one you should be sure to attend. The Residence Life team sponsors this sugary-sweet night of games, recipe-creating, and fun, all revolving around the popular Spring marshmallow treat, Peeps!

April 11th- "Taste of CIA" Club forum:

A Club forum is an event that is held each month in the Student Rec Center. It gives each of CIA's student-run clubs a chance to do some advertizing. This particular club forum features, of course, FOOD, and each club will be serving a food that best represents them as an entity. Besides the culinary-focused clubs such as Gourmet Society, Pit-Masters, Brew Club, Bacchus Wine Society, and the Baking and Pastry Society, the CIA also has clubs that revolve around music, poetry, international orginaztions, career advancement, religion, sports, tea, photography and much more!


April 20th-22nd- Earth Day Weekend/Easter Egg Hunt-

This particular weekend will be chock full of events that will be taking place campus wide, and sponsored by many different CIA organizations. One event that is already in the works is 5-on-5 soccer, floor hockey, and basketball. The weekend will end with a bang on Sunday, at the Earth Day Celebration. Here, campus clubs will set up booths along the Hudson River, right behind Rosenthal hall, with different Earth Day-related activities, games and food. The most exciting event of the day is sure to be the Easter Egg hunt held by the Rosenthal RA staff. The hunt will feature over 300 prizes, so everyone will be sure to win!

April 29th- Pizza Cook-off, Sponsored by Saputo Cheese:

The Pizza Cook-off is one of the four annual cook-offs that we have here at the CIA. Besides the chili, chower, and grilled cheese competitions that we hold each year, the Pizza competition is a real crowd (and stomach) pleaser. A handful of teams will be chosen to battle it out to see who has the best pie of them all, and believe me, our chefs will go all-out to get the prize. Of course, being CIA students, these won't be your average pizzas! Saputo cheese is the sponsor, and will be providing all of the cheesy goodness for the competition.


As you can see, there is always something to see and do, even outside the classroom, here at the Culinary. These events are just a taste of things that happen on campus each month, and new events and clubs are popping up each and every week. For more details, check out the CIA's facebook page!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Il Cibo d'Italia: The Food of Italy

I am back from spending three amazing weeks in Italywith the CIA's Food, Wine, and Agriculture trip, which is offered in the Junior year of our Bachelors program

24 other students and I spent our three weeks traveling from Northern Italy to Southern Italy, learning all about the different types of food and wine that is enjoyed there, as well as spending time on farms, vineyards, in factories, and in cities filled with history, architecture, and culture. 

Below I have posted some pictures of just some of the amazing food that I enjoyed while I was on my trip.

          One of the main things that I learned about Italian cuisine is that, despite what Americans would like to think, isn't all about spaghetti and meatballs. In Italy, cuisine is regional (think of each region being smaller than that of a U.S. state), and changes with each region you pass through. Everything is influenced on seasonality, locality, and freshness, which is why we always hear about how amazing Italian food really is.

The Basics: In the North, you have heavier dishes such as risotto, polenta, a lot of cream and cheese-based dishes, game, and red meat. In the South, you have a lot of light fish, seafood, and tomato-based dishes featuring fresh pasta.

See the difference already? This is the best part about Italian cuisine. No matter where you go, there is something to enjoy and experience!


Some highlights from my trip,
starting in the North and ending in the South
Venice, Friuli, Verona

Cjalzons; Stuffed Pasta with Smoked Ricotta Cheese and Cinnamon

Risotto with pumpkin, pine nuts, and cheese

While we were in Verona, we ate at a Chicchetteria, which is a type of Italian restaurant that specializes in finger foods. It was one of my favorite meals!

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Horse Tartare

Miniature Tiramisu, Dark Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate, Cake, and Cake made with Nuts

Legs of Prosciutto di Parma

Emilia Romagna: Parma & Bologna 
If you are ever looking for a region of Italy with the widest "bounty" of products, it would have to be Parma. Here, we experienced Proscuitto, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Balsamico all in the same place! It was heaven.

Sliced Prosciutto di Parma

Parmigiano Reggiano in the Aging Room

Parmigiano Reggiano with Aged Balsamic 
from Modena 

In the Main Square of Bologna

Traditional Bolognese Meat Sauce

Lasagne Bolognese: Spinach Pasta, Meat Ragu, Beschamel Sauce


The Beautiful (and unique) City of Sienna

Making Ribollita; 

A Traditional Tuscan Soup made with Vegetables and Thickened with Bread

Parsley Pasta with Culatello (a Special Cured Meat made from the Butt of the Pig), Cheese, and Cream

Florence, Sorrento, Capri

Mixed Seafood Salad

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

Pizzaioli; Fried Pizzas with Fresh Tomato Sauce, Parmesean and Basil


Buffalo Mozzarella, Fresh Tomato, Arugula

Sfogiliatelle; A Traditional Layered Neopolitan Pastry

Wheatberry Pie; A Neopolitan Easter Dessert 


These photos are just a small taste of the fantastic food I experienced throughout my stay in beautiful Italia. As you can see, traveling from North to South really does give you a unique food opportunity, and allows you to taste every part of what Italy has to offer!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)