My first visit to The Culinary Institute was in August 2012. I came back home and described the campus to my family as, 'like Willy-Wonka land but with vegetables'. The entire front piazza was covered in fragrant lavender, rosemary and mint. There were bright red cherry tomatoes hanging plump and juicy from their vines outside St. Andrew's Cafe, and black berry bushes that had been picked clean by students alongside the dorms. I thought it was so amazing that everything was edible. Choosing fresh ingredients is a huge part of respecting the art of cooking, and they really drill that philosophy into you at the CIA. It seems only fitting that campus turns into a micro farm in the summertime.
This August I'm finishing up my second semester as an official CIA student. I came back from summer break expecting the cornucopia I'd seen last year and, as usual, this school did not disappoint. There's a huge herb garden that's thriving over behind Caterina D'Medici restaurant with pretty much everything you can imagine. They pick the herbs fresh to use in the restaurant every day.
|Nope, that's not Tuscany. Just the sun setting over our Italian restaurant on campus.|
From just this little bit in the picture, there's a huge amount of dill, at least two kinds of basil, oregano down front, and I believe some flat leaf parsley.
The berry bushes on the backside of the dorms are getting full with blackberries again, but this time I get to be the one to pick them when the little red knots turn sweet and black. These are located behind Rosenthall residence hall, and that's the Rec Center in the background.
Over by our farm to table restaurant, St. Andrew's Cafe, there is a little vegetable garden that produces everything from corn to carrots. St. Andrew's is currently closed and has been converted to the student run Courtside Cafe which used to be located in the Rec Center, but that is another blog for another day. I think the move may have been related to some of the construction projects going on currently on campus, but I honestly don't know enough to tell you what's going to happen with St. Andrew's or if we'll ever have it again. All I know is that there's this gorgeous garden, and I hope that someone (me, me!!) gets to pluck that yummy kale, bake it with some olive oil and seasonings, and make themselves some kale chips...
Facing the commuter parking lot and St. Andrew's circle is a wall of sunflowers that you can see in the background of this picture. I love walking by them and getting a sun-shiny reminder (except that I'm usually taking out trash when that happens...)
Here's the corn! There are also a few different types of potatoes, Swiss chard, beets, broccoli, summer squash, tomatoes, plus even more fresh veggies. It makes my little garden lovin' heart go pitter patter.
I hope you feel as inspired by our fruitful campus as I do, and believe me the picture do not do it justice. You gotta come here for a visit and see for yourself! Pick some fresh herbs on the CIA.