Friday, August 31, 2012

CIA Chef Lingo 101

If you've ever been in a professional restaurant kitchen, you may wonder what is going on.
People in chef's jackets running around yelling intangible things, carrying hot pots, and playing with sharp knives...

It's a lot to take in! But do you ever wonder what that silly jargon means? Today I will de-mystify some of the "chefspeak" that we use in the kitchen, and hopefully you can get some practice before you experience the real thing!

86: When working on the line, this term is used to relay to everyone around you (servers, Chef, other cooks), that a particular item is completely sold out, and not to continue selling it to customers.
            Example: "86 chicken sandwich!"
All Day:All day refers to the amount of dishes you have cooking at one time, and is used as a mental tracker for a cook. It is verbally repeated back to the expediter right after they fire a dish, to indicate the dish they just fired, as well as the amount that they are currently cooking for seperate tables.
            Example: "Ok, I need two flank steaks!"
                            "Two flank steaks heard, five all day Chef!"

Corner: Many kitchens are located in tight cramped spaces, and it is hard to see around a corner if you are walking with a large tray or a pot full of hot liquid. In order to reduce the amount of spills, falls, and burns, most cooks will say "corner" when they are headed around a blind corner so others will know they are there.

Cover: A cover is one customer in the dining room that orders food. If a restaurant says that they had 50 covers for lunch, it means that they served 50 people that particular day, whether or not those people ordered one course or three. Many restaurants have systems that count the number of covers (tracked by a reservation system like Open Table) in order to properly prep for dinner or lunch service.
            Example: "We have 250 covers on the books today, looks like it's going to be a busy one!"
Firing:This phrase is used when the expediter, or the person relaying the orders between the front and back of house, starts to read a table's order to the rest of the kitchen. It not only tells the cooks what is being ordered, but it also indicates that they should start cooking that order right away.
            Example: "Firing two scallops, one bass, and one chicken"
                                  "Two scallops, one bass, one chicken heard Chef!"

This phrase is very similar to Yes Chef (see below), but is commonly used between co-workers.
            Example: "Dropping chicken fingers in the fryer"
                                 "Chicken fingers heard"

Hot Behind: This phrase is exactly what it sounds like! If you have a hot pan, pot, or tray of food, you say "hot behind" to indicate to the people around you that you have a hot item in your hand, so as not to burn them or yourself!
                Example: "Hot pot behind! Coming behind with a hot pot, please be careful!"

On The Fly:If a Chef or expeditor needs a dish or item very quickly, they ask for it "on the fly". This means that the cooks have to drop what they are doing and put all of their focus on getting this item out to the customer.
                Example: "I need one roasted chicken on the fly, hurry!"
                                    "yes Chef, one chicken on the fly!"

In The Weeds: If you are extremely swamped with your work and are falling behind, whether it is during prep or service itself, you are "in the weeds". It is difficult to get out of the weeds, so a cook must do everything in their power to focus and push in order to get the food to the customer!

Stop, Drop and Scrape: This term is used strictly by CIA bakers, and although it is silly, it works! In particular, one should stop, drop, and scrape their mixing bowl while creaming butter and sugar, mixing cookie dough, incorperating eggs into a batter, or anything else that would require all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl to be incorperated into the product.
            Example: "After adding your eggs, stop, drop, and scrape."
Working is a way to indicate that you are in the process of completing the chef's orders, but aren't quite done yet. Many times a Chef will go through the prep list and call out to see how the line is doing with their work. If a cook is still busy completing a task when it is called out, they will respond with "working" so the Chef knows that it is being done.
                Example: "Where are we with the pasta prep?"
                                    "Working, Chef!"

Yes Chef:
This callback is used every time the Chef gives orders. It relays that the students or cooks have heard what the Chef has said, and are working on it as soon as possible.
            Example: "Could somebody please grab me two wooden spoons?"
                                "yes Chef, working on that right away!"
If you don't have the chance to work in a professional kitchen before you start your schooling here at the CIA, a really good (and cheesy) way to experience the feel of a kitchen (and all of its lingo) would be to watch Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille! It may seem silly, but famed Chef Thomas Keller collaborated on the making of the kitchen scenes, and it is amazing at how accurate the Chef Lingo is in the Gusteau Kitchen!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Culinary Inspiration


My Grandparents and I at my CIA Associates Graduation!

The recipe was top secret; nobody could know. I would always start with a huge plastic bowl of water. Then my “expertly trained” chef hands would sprinkle in a little dried parsley flakes, paprika, and cinnamon, add a dash of poppy seeds, swirl in some soy sauce, and garnish with some rainbow ice cream “jimmies”. Sound unusual? Well, at the age of eight, this Magic Potion Soup was my signature dish in the Five-Star Five-Diamond restaurant that was my Grandmother’s kitchen.


                                         Curious Little Me ;)


My Memom was one of the first people I can remember cooking with. Many have a charming story about their grandmother, but unlike the rest, I have her to thank for my career, both at this very moment and in the future. When I was young, my mother would drop me off at Memom’s house to spend the day while she went to work. I still remember sneaking pieces of whole wheat bread from her kitchen counter, and the way her scrambled eggs could not be duplicated (even if one used the same eggs in the same pan). There is a special food attached to each memory I can recall spending with her, and each one is still alive in my mind today.

As I progressed through Middle School and High School, I would make weekend trips to Memom’s house to cook with her. Each time she would teach me how to make the specialties that my big Italian family loved, (such as her infamous homemade pizza, pepperoni bread, mocha log cookies, and biscotti) while gossiping about the latest Giada episode on the Food Network.

I know now that my grandmother saw something in me over those years. In fact, she was the one who scheduled the bus tour to visit the prestigious Culinary Institute of America when I was in eighth grade. Up until that point, I had never considered turning my food obsession into a career.

It only took one tour to convince me that Hyde Park, NY was where I wanted to spend my college career. I was completely mesmerized by this magical world where students spent their entire day studying and working with food. If only I could be one of those girls wearing her chef whites, knife roll slung over her shoulder and chef toque in hand as she hurried to class! The New York campus seemed to teem with the excitement of these students, and I was drawn to the fact that I could simultaneously foster a college experience and receive the World’s best culinary education.

Working Hard During My Associates Degrees.. 
Living the DREAM!

Now, after spending three years at the CIA, I am living my dream. I still receive calls from my grandmother every week, inquiring about buttercream, baking times, and whether or not she should chill that rose wine she bought yesterday. The tables have turned and I am teaching her! In the end, no matter where I go in my life or my career, my heart will always belong at my Memom’s counter, making my signature Magic Potion Soup.

The Beautiful Julia Child

Before I go, I must pay homage to a culinary great, who had a birthday several days ago. Julia Child played an important role in the lives of many culinary and baking and pastry chef's lives, and if it were not for her, the popularity of classical French cooking certainly would not have made it into the kitchens of so many Americans. Her liveliness, talent, and ability to accept her mistakes with a smile and a laugh is to be admired by many.

Take some time out to thank the people in your life who have gotten you where you are today. They make and shape us into who we are!!!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Stage in a Newport Restaurant...


The View Outside Of A 
Newport Restaurant


After courageously visiting NYC for a stage, I figured why not go up North to the New England area? I completed my externship at a golf club in Charlestown, Rhode Island. While I was helping the club with a wine dinner this past weekend, I decided to venture 45 minutes up route one to a splendid harbor side town, formally known as Newport, Rhode Island to shadow at a restaurant.

Picture hundreds of sailboats, glistening salt water, an ocean breeze, colorful boutiques and scents of lobster and “chow-da” in the air. Just imagine friendly locals biking around tourists on the sidewalk. Every Rhode Islander you run into carries that humble, infamous “Boston” accent. To me, Rhode Island is a state of a mystical, yet simple island life, East coast style.  

I parked at the local deck and walked my way down the sandy sidewalk of “America’s Cup” into the center of Newport. Even though I drank some cold Rhody milk-coffee (an actual beverage sold at Dave’s Coffee, located in Charlestown), my stomach was craving some fried calamari and a New Castle. I couldn’t help but think how nice it’d be to live in Newport.

The food scene itself is astonishing because of the seafood craze. Brewed culture is also becoming more popular within local pubs popping pairing fried seafood with ale.

My only hope was that this stage would be a success and I’d get to witness what it was really like, Front-of-House style, to be in a Newport restaurant at the peak of lunch hour.

Boy, was I in for a slammed shift. Again, I will leave the restaurant unnamed for the sake of their personal privacy. The managers were super friendly and welcoming, very laid-back in style. I wasn’t surprised about their nonchalant attitudes; every Rhode Islander I had ever met was this way. To me, it’s not a turn-off at all. Calm, relatable, easygoing managers make for a fun, relaxing experience. Don’t’ get me wrong, they were perfectly professional and disciplined as well.

 My stage began with a tour of the restaurant, shaking hands with different bartenders, servers and cooks in the kitchen. Then, I witnessed the pre-briefing fifteen minutes before lunch service. New menu items were introduced and tasted, reflections of the night before were discussed and the Chef actually came out to convince every server to sell as many lobsters as possible. The one who sold the most would get a free bottle of wine (a great incentive if you ask me). The only part of the meeting that I was a bit flustered with was that they didn’t even introduce me to the staff. Therefore, for the rest of the day, I had to be repetitive to each member and tell them why I was there. Nonetheless, everybody seemed friendly enough and not at all intimidated or bewildered by my presence.

Between the raw bar, mimosas, bloody marries and fried fish sandwiches, customers were coming in and out of the restaurant craving cocktails and seafood. Many requested to sit by the water on a deck that was surrounded by yachts and sailboats (such a sight to see). It was difficult accommodating each guest to that request since indoor seating was also available. This part of the dining room certainly was deserted, but the restaurant tried to open it up by keeping the fans on, sliding the windows for a view and convincing diners that no matter where they sat, they could feel as if they were in an outdoor setting (which was certainly true).

After seating a few guests at tables (felt good to be a host again), I walked around the hardwood floors with the manager in the dining room. He showed me the Aloha POS dining system and we observed service, picking napkins off the floor, removing silverware here and there, greetings guests, checking on busboys, clarifying items with Chef, etc. Overall, my four hours in Newport were delightful and I left the restaurant starving for a lobster roll and an ocean view.

 The Newport scene was surely different than NYC in ways that I mentioned above. It’s difficult to pick and choose which environment is best suited for you. In Rhode Island, everyone knows each other (a friend of mine that cooked with me at the golf club told me to say hi to Chef, and he recognized his name immediately).Personally, I always make the decision based on where I am in life and what I am in dire need for. In a year or so, if I need that island inspired summer to relax on my days off, I’d go to Newport. In order to learn though and be challenged, NYC is definitely the place to grow strong.  No matter what restaurant you go to, just remember that qualities of service are universal and can be shared and taught in any setting.


CIA Students Help with CMC Exams

You've got Mail!

The CIA e-mail system is constantly aflood with e-mails containing invitations to help with various events. Sometimes off-site events need servers, wine pourers, or caterers. Other times a party of four is looking for a personal chef to cook for an event, or teach a class. Then there are those special e-mails that look for individuals to volunteer for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Chris Wegan happened to click on one of those e-mails, and was fortunate enough to participate in an amazing experience.

Chris, an Associates Culinary student, was one of the many people who answered the email asking for apprentices to work side-by-side with the candidates for this year’s Certified Master Chef exam.

After sending in several recommendations, writing an essay, checking his transcripts, and even making arrangements to switch his current AM class to PM, Chris was accepted as one of eleven apprentices. The apprentice’s job during the exam is to be the chef’s right hand man (or woman), and make sure that whatever he or she needs gets done on time and correctly, or it could jeopardize that candidate’s final product. Each apprentice was assigned several days out of the week-long, multi-day test, and were paired with a chef each day. Chris explained that each apprentice was assigned to a certain section of the kitchen for that day, and each CMC candidate drew a station number, thus automatically pairing them with an apprentice in the fairest way possible.

Chris Assists His Chef 
During The Exam

Testing days started very early, usually around 6am. First the apprentices and chefs would go over the menu for that day. They would check their rec sheets, make sure they had all of their product and equipment in line, and then began that day’s prep.  Apprentices did basic mise en place, such as chopping herbs and fabricating vegetables. The actual cooking part was, naturally, left to the CMC candidates. “We weren’t able to apply heat to anything. I couldn’t cook, turn on the stove, nothing,” Chris said. Each group was allowed in the kitchen for four hours to prep and cook, and then allotted a thirty-minute time window to present their food (requirements stated that each candidate must present four courses, each with four plated portions, as well as one platter-style plate containing six portions).

I asked Chris if he apprenticed because he was planning on taking the CMC exam in the future. Although he doesn’t have the desire to take the exam, it is clear that because of his past and culinary background, his respect for those that do plan on taking it, or have taken it already, is great. He has worked for several chefs that belong to the American Culinary Federation (the organization that administers the exam), which made him feel comfortable in the CMC kitchen. He also worked for a CIA grad that apprenticed in the past, who recommended that he take part in the experience, and was one of the main reasons that he applied.

A Chef Directs His Apprentice On How to Plate

Now what does it take, exactly, to apply to be an apprentice? What can you learn from an experience like this? “The type of person who goes for the CMC and who wants to apprentice is looking for every opportunity to learn and push themselves to do something interesting,” describes Chris. “It pushed my stress level, and I know that I can handle that level of stress now. You really get to see how people react under pressure.”

The CIA provides students with so many different chances to take part in amazing events, cook beside world-renown chefs, and go to some pretty cool places. I am a personal example of this, and I have taken part in so many cool events (Bocuse d'Or, James Beard Awards, International Chefs Congress), simply because of my affiliation with the CIA and my status as a student.

I hope that you, too will be able to take part in events such as these in the future. You never know when opportunity will come knocking!!!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)

Il Nostro Giardino (Our Garden)

  (Our Garden's Harvest In NJ This Past July)

I was told a while ago (as a blog idea) to write about what I did over the summer as a CIA student. Just to clarify, us culinary kids certainly are unique, but we do indeed have normal lives when it comes to going on break. I usually flee to the beach in NJ, take a weekend getaway somewhere on the East Coast and have just enough time to meet up with some old friends and family members within our three week vacation in July. This summer though, I focused on the art of canning and baking (my weaknesses in the kitchen).

I bought a magazine a while ago on a flight to Italy that explained the process of canning and preserving meats, jellies and jams. I thought it would just be an easy read to take up the eight hours of travel on the plane, but I actually found myself circling and highlighting multiple recipes and gift ideas. As soon as I got home in July, I sat down and talked to my father about what produce and fruits were about to be harvested in our garden. Tomatoes and figs were traditionally picked in August/September, so I concentrated on recipes involving zucchini, herbs, beets and most of all, blackberries.

My ultimate pet peeve is to see food go to waste. This could be derived from my years at CIA, or just because I love to eat! Anyway, I had to figure out what I could do with pounds and pounds of blackberries. Jelly was an obvious answer, but I wanted to be a bit more creative than that (my mother and I did make blackberry-lime jelly with extra berries at the end of the month). All of a sudden, I came up with the idea of infusing a 750 mL bottle of cheap vodka with handfuls of blackberries and a drizzle of simple syrup. My research showed me that if I let that sit for ten days in a cool, dark area, I would have homemade Blackberry Liqueur. Sure enough, it was a success! The color of the final product was a ruby, rich burgundy with a mild essence of macerated blackberries. Simply delightful.

(Blackberry Goodness!)

Next on the list was zucchini, loads of it too. After pickling some beets from the garden, I felt rather confident that I was on a roll and mustered up the courage to make some zucchini relish and bread. Yes, baking. My ultimate flaw (hey, that’s why I’m a cook!).

(Fresh Beets!)

First, the easier out of the two, Zucchini Relish! The hardest part of this recipe was definitely slicing bunches of zucchini on the mandolin into thin strips. After that was done, I julienned some carrots, onions and red peppers and packed all of the vegetables in salt. Once the liquid was drained out and salt rinsed off, the next step was to slowly cook them in a sugar based vinegar mixture (with spices of course). The canning part was the easiest, but I had to remember to sterilize the jars first, take them out carefully and add in appropriate parts of relish to liquid. Then, I had to boil the jars for ten minutes to make sure the lids would snap when opened, indicating the preservation of the product. Overall, the relish was better than I thought! It’s a refreshing pickle alternative for hotdogs, tacos, sandwiches, etc. With the Pickled Beets, the process was similar in technique, only I added some sliced red onions and the actual beet stems and greens to the pickling mixture, which came out tender exemplifying a bright pink color.

Now for the Zucchini Bread saga. Just kidding, it didn’t take THAT long. I purposely drove back home from my best friend’s house in the rain on a stormy summer night to get baking. Her parents urged me not to drive so late (it was 11pm) and I felt so silly saying that I had to bake zucchini bread. Yet, duty called! I got home safe and my brother and I started banging out thin slices of zucchini.

(Wonderful Zucchini Bread...)

I followed a recipe off-line (no judgment here). I also added in sliced carrots fromthe garden to the mixture as well as pignoli nuts to give the bread more texture. I baked the bread two ways: one in a bundt pan and the other in a cake pan. Also, I am guilty of manipulating the recipe in more ways than one. Instead of AP flour, I used cake flour because we had little to no regular flour and it was too late at night to run to the store. Also, as horrible as it sounds, I did not have baking soda around the house so I substituted baking powder. To all you bakers out there don’t frown upon this please, for my zucchini bread came out delicate and heavenly. When heated up with some butter, my stomach was surely satisfied.

Well folks, I hope you appreciate my recipe testing stories! I had a blast over break researching ways to preserve our garden’s harvest. I hope this inspires you all to do the same! Stay strong CIA!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Why Pick The CIA?


My Associate's Graduation in May 2011.

The Culinary Institute of America. The school’s name is bold as is. Yet, why is our school so popular amongst restaurateurs and leaders in the food industry? Are there better culinary schools out there for high school students and career-changers to apply to?

I can think of a whole list of reasons why the CIA is the best of its’ kind. However, I can also recite why other culinary colleges are well-respected and hold a purpose when it comes to developing a culinary education. CIA is not just about learning how to cook and bake though, the overall experience revolves around networking.

Basic fundamentals and techniques can be taught at any culinary school. At the CIA, students not only learn how to apply their skills in the kitchen, but they learn how to showcase such talent in securing jobs for externship and post-graduation.

The career fairs and scholarship opportunities on campus are incredible. There are various amounts of grants, awards and money donated to the college in hopes of encouraging students to travel, study abroad and invest money in their major of choice (culinary or baking).

When I was in Italy for the G.R.I. scholarship, the CIA was well-known by restaurant owners in small towns across the East Coast of Le Marche. As soon as they heard, “CIA”, their eyes lit up as if the CIA students on the trip were famous. It is true, just the name itself can make a big impact on a Chef. Why? Because they are familiar with the school’s title and reputation internationally through occurrences such as Bocuse d’Or, the Singapore campus and European Food, Wine and Agriculture tours.

Having the CIA stamped on your diploma is huge. Going to this school makes or breaks a job interview. This institute persuades recruiters to take in CIA graduates and trust them in advancing within management positions. This school influences students to color outside of the lines and explore the oddest jobs in the industry. This brotherhood is unlike any of its’ kind and believe me, even in fine-dining restaurants, you will most likely recognize a friendly face from a customer or co-worker who went to the CIA. When it does indeed happen, just smile and know that you both experienced the ultimate CIA journey.


A Stage in a NYC Restaurant...

"Stage"- In CIA terms, to "shadow" or "trail" at a restaurant of choice.

To many, stages are exciting. To me, stages are a bit intimidating and spike up my anxiety. While I still feel as if they are opportunities of a lifetime, my nerves get the best of me before I enter any trail. Yet, in order to succeed in this industry, I do believe that it is essential to shadow at restaurants that potentially can become your future career. Otherwise, you will end up going in blind to that job of interest.

It was a pleasant day in Hyde Park, New York. Many students were getting ready to go to class, hike up to the 4th floor of Roth Hall for Bachelor's studies or waltz their way into a kitchen in chef whites. For me, my hand were shaking as I turned in my psychology quiz, knowing that in the next three hours, I'd be in the presence of a fine dining NYC restaurant full of staff members watching my every move. What would happen if they didn't offer me a job? What if I absolutely hated the place (especially spending so much money for travel)? What if I didn't make it on time or miss my train? I jetted to my dorm room, quickly put on my blazer and dress pants and tied my hair into a slicked back bun. My attempt was to look as professional as can be, for I had to make the best impression possible. For a CIA Bachelor's student graduating in October, I was determined to succeed in each and every interview so that by the fall, I would have job offerings to pick and choose from. Also, I would have to set time aside in September to find housing. To be stuck on graduation day not having a job lined up, was a depressing thought for me.

While travelers on the metro-north were gossiping, drinking beer and dazing out into the Hudson River, I kept going over how I was going to reach my NYC destination. The restaurant I will leave un-named for the sake of their privacy.

I remembered what my friend had told me about this place. He warned me to eat something before going into the trail, for I'd be hungry by the end of it and starving for food. I thought hard and long about where to eat in-between Grand Central and the Central Park area. My friend Chris a while back told me that if I was ever in Grand Central, to go to The Oyster House and try their clam chowder. To ease my nerves, I did just that and savored every bit of my "chowda” at the bar.

I finished my Pepsi and my Uncle texted me asking where I was in the city (a New Yorker himself). When I mentioned how I was very anxious, he said nerves were a good thing, they make people focus. I told him I was an hour early to my stage at the restaurant and he gave me some good advice. Following his order, I called a cab asap. His reasoning was to take a cab rather than a subway since it’d be more direct. Also, I wanted to travel uptown early to avoid any traffic. Indeed, it relaxed my thinking since I was in the area rather than stalling in Midtown.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, ten minutes before scheduled, a handsome host greeted and escorted me into the office downstairs where I met with the director. He handed me off to a server that would be showing me around the restaurant for the first quarter of the night. I was very impressed that there were guidelines for this stage as well as a sheet of rules for the evening. I was even on the floor plan for PM service, which was quite an honor to see!

    Family meal was very well executed. There was a protein, vegetable, salad, starch and dessert- the perfect amount of food for a medium-sized staff. Dinner took a total of twenty minutes, followed by a briefing of the "who is who" that would be attending dinner that night. The staff member listed off a bunch of customers, first and last name, describing their titles and requests dinner. Each server wrote down if there were any birthdays, celebrations or anniversaries in their sections as well. New wine updates were discussed and the director also listed off a bunch of online reviews the restaurant had receieved. A few servers were quizzed here and there on upcoming events and menu items. Before I knew it, service was about to get started.

The night overall went very well. I stood and observed quite a bit in a dining room for four hours. My patience and stamina to not lean or slouch was definitely challenged. The staff members were very hospitable, friendly and easy-going in character. Yet, they were serious about their roles in the dining room and made sure each guest was accommodated to their needs. The simplistic food soared by my eyes. Colors of red, green and orange highlighted the use of fresh, raw, summer ingredients. I was honored to have witnessed such a harmonized service.

The reason why I am writing about this stage is because I want to encourage all of you to face your fears, travel into New York City and trail for some of the best restaurants known to mankind. It is an experience of a lifetime and even if you don't accept or get the job, that very night will remain with you for a while and influence your own decision making skills when in a real, fine dining atmosphere. You'll be able to compare what techniques you've seen at one restaurant to another and take note of how a successful service is performed. Stay strong CIA folk!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why Hyde Park?

St. Helena, CA? Hyde Park, NY?? San Antonio, TX??? Singapore????

Decisions decisions... With all of these options, how can one possibly choose a CIA campus?

It's true, they do give future Chefs a lot of options when it comes to picking a place to study. Many other schools have options of where to study, but none offer such a wide range. I mean, studying in Singapore? That's pretty cool!

I made the choice to persue my degree at the CIA's Hyde Park Campus for a number of reasons. In the next month or so, you will not only hear my story, but the stories of CIA students from several of the different campuses. Hopefully this will help you decide which one is right for you!

My First Visit To The CIA, 5 Years Ago!

Why Hyde Park?

1. Most College-like Experience
 I started at the CIA right out of high school, so I was certainly looking for a college experience. Not many culinary schools offer that, since they are usually six month programs. The Hyde Park location is the most established, and has a wide array of collegiate sports, clubs, activities, and provides the same experince as one would have going to a normal college (except you are surround by people who are as obsessed with food as you are...which is an experience within itself!).

2. Oldest CIA Campus
The CIA used to be home to St. Andrews on the Hudson, a Jesuit Seminary, before it became the New Haven Restaurant Institute (a cooking academy for military vets), and then ultimately what it is today. Phew, that's a lot of history! This is reflected in the breathtaking grounds that our budding chefs walk on every day, and the amazing stained-glass windows that line the walls of our dining room, Farquharson Hall. All of this has made the Hyde Park campus the most notorious CIA location, and draws so many famous Chefs to work, present, and take classes here. It is an honor to be in the place where so much greatness took place, and not many college students can say that!

3. Proximity to NYC
"The City", as we call it, is only a 1hr and 30 minute train ride from the college, making it easy to explore, work, stage, and even extern in America's largest food city ever! It is so easy to take a train to NYC for a day trip to eat and explore. Plus, it is perfect for the job-seeking CIA student, especially when graduation time rolls around. Many students end up working in Manhattan's top restaurants for their externship or post graduation. 

4. All about the numbers!
Check this out... according to, the Hyde Park Campus has...
"41 professionally equipped kitchens and bakeshops;
five award-winning, student-staffed restaurants;
culinary demonstration theaters;
a dedicated wine lecture hall;
a center for the study of Italian food and wine;
a library with nearly 84,000 volumes;
and a storeroom filled to brimming with the finest ingredients, including many sourced from the bounty of the Hudson Valley."
Plus, there is current construction underway at the Hyde Park Campus! New student housing was recently added, the student rec center will soon be expanded, and a new ampitheatre/hall will be added for graduations and speakers. 

Overall, I am extremely happy with the decision I've made. The decision is yours, and you have to base it off of your own needs and wants. Either way, the choice to attend the CIA is the best one you could have made. The education you will recieve will get you further and send you where you want to go!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre :)