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Any CIA students out there?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I am a CIA grad '99 and am searching for current students. I visited CIA about 2 months ago for a really intense CE program (through work) and was very impressed by the changes on campus. I would love to hear from you!
"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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post #2 of 40
I don't go there, but they called my house, seeing if I'd like to visit the school. How did you like it?

I was kind of confused that they require you to have experience in the food business, though.. I'm in high school, how would that happen?
post #3 of 40
I am a CIA student who is LOVING it. :D

PS - The reason they require you to have some training before you get here is to make sure you are serious about this industry. You just need to get a job or volunteer in some kitchen.
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hi Melissah and CookinTim!
Melissah, what CookinTim said is right. The requirement to have experience before being accepted into the school is a fairly new thing, to my knowledge, in the last decade. When I applied (1996?) I had no experience, and they required at least 6 months cooking experience, 75% or more made from scratch. It was a catch 22 because I had no cooking experience and nobody wanted to hire me because of that, so how was I supposed to apply to the school? A friend who's dad owned a local upstate NY restaurant needed a prep/dishwasher, so I took the job. As fate would have it, about 2 months into the job, the broiler cook called in sick on a Friday night, and I volunteered to step in... the rest is history.

Melissah, I don't know if they still require it, but I also had to take a culinary math test before they would accept me. Math was never my forte, and I failed miserably. The recruiter took pity on me, and I promised I would get tutoring, and she said I could come back and retake it. I paid a local state college student $10 an hour, and using the practice guide they give you, passed on my second try with flying colors. I did very well at the CIA, I actually became a Fellow (which is- after you graduate -you have a chance to apply for- it is a back or front of the house chef/instructor assistant position for 6 months). I did lots of other stuff at the school after that, including working in the film/video/research department and recieved a scholarship from the Italian Trade Commision to study Italian food, wine, culture, language. I am not trying to toot my own horn here, I just want you, and CookinTim to know of the wonderful opportunities that can happen at that school, and after.

I really do believe a degree from an accredited/respected school does accelerate your rate of advancement- or at least get your foot in the door faster. I started school with no professional experience at the age of 27. I am now 34, and an Executive Chef with Compass Group- servicing the Boeing, Wichita facility. It is a huge responsibilty, given the sheer numbers of people we feed every day. Also, keep in mind, geography. My husband and I are big fish in a small pond- (there are only 2 other graduates working in this town, plus one former CIA instructor working for Excel Corp). I would probably still be a line cook at Gotham if I had stayed in NY. There is nothing wrong with that either, I know I would have gained tons more knowledge. However, I have chosen foodservice- the hours, the flexibility, the pay all work for me. Quality of life is very important to me.

COOKINTIM!!!!! Tell me about yourself! Where are you from, how old are you, where in the program are you? Have you had Chef Clark for Fish Kitchen yet- OMG- he is terrifying in the kitchen, but a sweet old retired Marine(?), Harley guy- really a pussycat. I heard he kicked his entire class out of the kitchen one time, and proceeded to cook all the food for all the stations for that day's lunch service- and made the class watch through the windows!

I know this was long, but the CIA holds a dear place in my heart, and always will . I really believe it gave me the foundation to get where I am today and the confidence to keep moving upwards. Good luck to both of you- Happy Cooking!
"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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post #5 of 40
ChefMeow, like you probably guessed, my name is Tim. I'm from Baltimore, Maryland and I just started at the CIA. I've been here about 6 weeks - I have one week left in B block, and then I will be moving into Fish Kitchen with Chef Clark! I've heard a lot about him, but I'm the kind of guy who likes the crazy old timers, so I'm figuring I'll love him.

I absoloutley love it here. Every class - even the classroom ones in B Block - are facinating, and the instructors are amazing. I just got back - literally, minutes ago - from picking wild morel mushrooms in the state park a few miles up Route 9 with Professor Stein. Tony Bourdain spoke along with Fergus Henderson about 3 weeks ago. In a few weeks there's a truffle tasting. What more can you ask for?
post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
Dude, you are in the culinary MECCA!!!!!!!! Enjoy it, every minute, every second. (remember, your tuition comes out to paying about $100 a day). Learn and bond with your classmates. When I was a Fellow, I would tell the students on their last day finishing St. Andrews kitchen,: I]You are almost at the end of your journey- you think you are the most tight knit group on the planet- but in just a few weeks- you will all be scattered to the four points of the globe. Take away what you have learned from each other and cultivate the relationships you have formed- the culinary world is a small and intimate community [/I]
I am so jealous you were picking morels!!! Where on Rt 9? I used to live in New Paltz, on an apple orchard, they were so abundant this time of year. What will you do with them?
"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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post #7 of 40
Honestly, I really, really do appreciate this place. I wake up feeling lucky to be here every day, and work my tail off to get the very best grades I can and learn the most I can.

I don't remember the name of the state park exactly, though I'm sure it could be found easily on the Internet. Its a few miles north of the Vanderbilt House on Route 9, but on the CIA side of the Hudson, not over in New Paultz. It was a lot of fun, but we didn't get enough to do any serious cooking with. I think I'm just going to admire mine for right now and then head out next weekend when they are in their prime and hopefully grab enough to throw in a pasta sauce or maybe just saute and eat plain with salt, pepper and butter.
post #8 of 40
Hi there -

Just thought I would jump in on this....I'm a CIA grad from '96. When I was there, it was when alot of the old European chefs were retiring and I had alot of the young American's as some of their first classes: Chef Liguri for Meat Fab, Chef Turgeon for American Regional and Bounty (I don't know if he's still there)....the guy I had for breads....now I think he's the head of the Baking and Pastry Depatment or something like that...young guy, early 40's...can't remember his name for the life of me right now :confused:

I had Chef Clark for Fish....great, great teacher. I remember being somewhat surprised by how incredibly thoughtful he is about food.....I'll never forget one lecture when he talked about listening to your ingredients...letting them tell you (metaphorically, of course) how best to cook them, letting them tell you when that moment of proper doneness is....not the kind of thing you would expect from a Harley-riding former Marine with "USMC" tatooed acroxs his knuckles. :) And BTW, I'm glad to see the story about him kicking out his class has still survived...

I'm in culinary education now, so all I can say is "You students are pains in the asses sometimes!!" :D But seriously, just keep asking questions, because if there is one thing that we instructors love it's a student who expresses true interest in the field. All we ask is that you speak up, and we'll give you everything we've got.
"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

-Goethe
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"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

-Goethe
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post #9 of 40
I am heading off to the CIA in January. Ive been wanting to go to the CIA since I was a wee lad. Started cooking in a kitchen when I was 15 as a vocational class in vegas under a Chef that graduated from the CIA. He taught me so much, and I remember everything he told me that he has learned. I bought the book Making of a Chef, where the Author attended the CIA for 2 years. Needless to say it made me want to go even more. So im waiting to go, been working at Macaroni Grill for 9 months to get my 6 months experience, started out as a pantry cook, now I can run every station there, food ordering, its so much fun. Anyway thought I would add my two cents :) :chef:
post #10 of 40
Its so cold here in January. But you are going to have a blast.
post #11 of 40
hey yall, I am a very recent grad sept 10th '04. So to you fresh starters all I have to say is...its alot of fun. Getting to cook again for real (being out of school) is great too. Enjoy your time there.
To Meow... I am also into Italian cooking. I work as sous chef for two brothers from Tuscany at a place in ATL called Antica Posta, www.anticaposta.com . They also have a place in San Casciano of the same name, which I hope to visit in the next year.
As for whats going on at the school..the new construction of Anton Plaza...which includes leveling the hill in front of Roth hall and creating a subterranean parking garage is insane. I hope to go back and see it when its done. Good luck to all hope to hear more from you.
________________IRONCHEFATL___
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
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________________IRONCHEFATL___
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
Reply
post #12 of 40
Hey. I know this is an older thread but I wanted to see if any of the grads were still around. I'm seriously considering attending in January. I have a few questions.

If you lived in the dorms what were they like?

What is life on campus like?

How many times a week do you go to class?

What went on during the weekends, was it like a normal college or is it more quiet?

What is Hyde Park like? (I'm assuming it's a small town but I'm not sure)

Thanks!
post #13 of 40
If you lived in the dorms what were they like?

Well, most of the CIA's dorms are old and outdated. They aren't terrible, though, I lived in one of the older ones, Rosenthal, before I did my externship. Sometimes, depending on the time of year and the number of students leaving and coming in, they'll stack three people into two person rooms. That happened to me, and it sucks. No doubt about it. But in general, the CIA's dorms are like most college dorms, maybe just a little older.

On the plus side, the CIA recently built a bunch of new townhouse style dorms for bachelor's degree students. Even though I'm not in that program I still got put in these dorms after externship, that's where I'm writing this from now. These rooms are great. Huge, comfortable, modern. As good as any dorm I've ever been in.

What is life on campus like?

A lot like any other college's - lots of drinking and smoking and sex and a bit of drug use too. Its just that everyone there in addition to taking part in these activities also shares a great passion for food. So I find it very cool.

At the same time, if drinking and smoking aren't you're idea of a good time there is a substance free dorm and its the most modern of the dorms outside of the bachelor's degree dorms I mentioned before.

How many times a week do you go to class?

Classes run in three week blocks. You go to class from either 7am to 2pm or from 2pm to about 9pm. All classes are Monday through Friday, except for the when you are in the restaurants (right before graduation) when you work on Saturdays but have Mondays off.

What went on during the weekends, was it like a normal college or is it more quiet?

Normal college, maybe a little louder if anything. There are a few bars in the area, one right across the street that's very popular. Some people drive home or visit boyfriends or girlfriends or even husbands or wives. Trips to New York City to eat and party are popular too. Cooks party hard. If you haven't figured that out by now, you will, I'm sure.

What is Hyde Park like? (I'm assuming it's a small town but I'm not sure)

Its right outside Poughkeepsie, so its not in the middle of nowhere, but its certainly not in a big city. There's a few other colleges around, mainly Marist which has a lot of good looking girls and not a lot else.

If you're from a big city like I am, the Hudson Valley will strike you profoundly with its beauty. Spring and fall, in particular are really magnificent here.

Hope this helps, I slammed out this post pretty quickly, but I can get into more detail at a later point if you have more questions.
post #14 of 40
Hello everyone I am a 91' graduate and yes I had Chef Clark he wasn't so bad but he did kick some people out of class because there nife was not sharp. I would imagine he gets more canterkous as the years go by. :)

Later this month my wife and I are heading to Philadelphia and then to Hyde Park to visit the CIA I have heard they have made some amazing changes. I would be curious to see how the program has changed.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #15 of 40

everything...

Everything good that has been said about CIA so far is true...


...there is no bad.


For those that can't go (I don't believe in the word "can't") we are here.

For those that can, we are here.

flash '90
"Do not be careless with poor ingredients and do not depend on fine ingredients to do your work for you but work with everything with the same sincerity." --from the Tenzo Kyokun
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"Do not be careless with poor ingredients and do not depend on fine ingredients to do your work for you but work with everything with the same sincerity." --from the Tenzo Kyokun
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post #16 of 40
Thanks Tim!

It's good to hear that the CIA parties and is social like a normal college. I know this may sound odd but I wasn't sure how it would be. I work in a restaurant right now so I'm use to us going out to the bars when we get out of work or we just simply drink in the parking lot. Us cooks do party hard.

Do people make trips to NYC often? It's like 2 hours away isn't it?

I live in Florida right now so the climate change will probably hit me pretty hard. It will be exciting to see a real fall though, I don't know how excited I am about treking through the snow.

Which dorms do you recommend (besides that substance free one-bleck :lol: )? Also do you live in the same dorm the whole time you are going for your Associates or do you change out like normal colleges do?

Well I think that's it for now. Thanks again!
post #17 of 40
"Do people make trips to NYC often? It's like 2 hours away isn't it?"

I actually just returned from NYC an hour or two ago. Its been awhile since I've driven there, but its about an hour and a half, I believe. The easiest thing to do, however, is take the train. The Metro North line runs from Poughkeepsie (about a 5 minute drive from campus) straight into Grand Central Station. If my train schedule is correct it takes an hour and forty minutes. Parking is free at the station the weekend, so its really easy to just drive there, park your car, ride into the city and then come back whenever you want.

"Which dorms do you recommend (besides that substance free one-bleck )? Also do you live in the same dorm the whole time you are going for your Associates or do you change out like normal colleges do?"

The CIA Associates program works roughly like this: You go to school for 8 months. You go on externship for 6 months. You come back and do 7 and a half months. It works out to just about 21 months total. You can live in the dorms before and after you come back, but a lot of people choose to get an apartment off campus for the last 7.5 months. I've moved a billion times over the past few years, hauling furniture all over the place, so I decided to stay on campus and save myself the trouble.

Its hard for me to recommend a dorm to you since they are pretty much all the same. And though you do have an option to choose a double or triple room (beware, sometimes you don't get your choice!) you don't get to choose what dorm that will be in, so it doesn't matter too much anyway. To give you a better sense of the housing, however, there are three dorms - Pick, Rosenthal, and Angell - that are all old school 1970s style dorms like you've probably seen on various college campuses. Those three are practically identical. Hudson is pretty new and a bit nicer, but its the substance-free dorm. Its usually where the younger students get put. Then there's the bachelor's dorms I spoke about before. In theory anyone can put there, but bachelor's students get priority. After that comes post-externship students (like me). And anyone who gets put in the bachelor's dorms needs to have good grades and no disciplinary violations.

Hope that helps,
Tim
post #18 of 40
Thanks so much for your help. I have a few other questions. :D

Do most people have a car? I've been debating if I'm going to take my car up there or not, the drive would totally suck I think it's probably around 13 hrs or so. So I was wondering if I'd could get by without one.

Also is it hard to get a job up there/is it impossible to work with classes etc?

Hmm I think that's all. Thanks again!
post #19 of 40
"Do most people have a car? I've been debating if I'm going to take my car up there or not, the drive would totally suck I think it's probably around 13 hrs or so. So I was wondering if I'd could get by without one."

I would say a slim majority of students do have a car. You can certainly get by without one, I have friends who do, but it does limit your independence. The only thing that is within walking distance is a gas station (popular place to buy cigarettes) and a bar. Everything else is a drive. If you don't need to run errands by yourself, and you're confident you'll make friends with cool people who will haul you around every once in a while, then you can squeeze by without a car. Before holidays and vacations the CIA thoughtfully runs a van service to nearby airports and train stations, so getting home won't be an issue. However, if you're a bit of a loner, or you don't have parents or friends who can drive all your stuff up here and then come get it when you go on externship, then haul it back, then get it again when you graduate (a lot of hauling, no?) you might want to consider bringing your own ride.

"Also is it hard to get a job up there/is it impossible to work with classes etc?"

No. Classes run in two sessions. You are either AM - roughly 6am to 2pm - or PM - roughly 2pm to 9:00pm., Both allow plenty of time for work. There's plenty of low paying on campus jobs. Those are sometimes pretty cool because you can sit at some desk and check ID cards while you do your homework. There are also numerous restaurants and catering companies that hire CIA kids.

Some parts of the CIA program are more intense than others, so I usually cut back on my work during those blocks. For example, right before you leave on externship you have Garde Manger, which isn't too tough a class, but you also have your first cooking practical and a boatload of paperwork to do for externship. I slinked away from my job at that point a little.

And, hey, speaking of my job, I have a great catering gig that pays $17 an hour plus tips, If you get here before I graduate in December and you buy me a couple beers I just might hook you up!
post #20 of 40
Doh! I'll be starting in January so I don't know if I'll see you before you graduate.

Thanks so much for answering my questions if I think of anything else I'll let you know. :D

Melissa.
post #21 of 40
Not a problem.

Be sure to check out the CIA's website, if you haven't already: http://www.ciachef.edu

Of course like any other school they are only going to give you the 'highs' on their site, but the CIA is mostly 'highs.' There's a few 'lows,' but they are more bothersome than anything else.
post #22 of 40

Networking is King at the CIA

I'm a CIA Grad ('03) and I can tell you that the interest you get from other people in the industry is amazing. Once someone hears you are a CIA Grad, you can almost see the ears perk up. But you still have to prove yourself. Be the best you can be while at school. I was an older student when I started (not that old, only 30), so I had a bit of a unique perspective, having both advantages and disadvantages. Parties are great! I enjoyed many a good round of Beer Pong. But don't loose focus of why you are there. I graduated with honors, and recieved 3 medalians (you get one when you graduate the AOS program). I was President of the Student Council and had a lot of input into the design of the Cottages. And Yes, I too had Chef Clark for fish kitchen :cool: .

Now I am a leader in the industry, working in my home state of Mississippi (yes, by choice), and I have mentored several future CIA students and one current CIA student (she is about to go on externship next month). I have met Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain, Paul Bocousse and many other "Celebrity" Chefs. Although, it is the working Chef that still impresses me. I have worked in Texas, Alaska, NYC, and Mississippi, but I still manage to keep in touch with the people in my stream while at the CIA. These are the people that will be calling you looking for information, recipes, references, etc.

The short and the sweet of it is, the people you will meet at the Culinary are like no others. You can compare the Culinary to any school, Trade or University, and you will not find the type of network of friends and mentors anywhere. This is what seperates the CIA from any other school, even the "other" culinary schools.

Good Luck, and God Speed

Chef Bill
If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary's. But if it deals you a truckload of hand grenades... now THAT'S a message!!
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If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary's. But if it deals you a truckload of hand grenades... now THAT'S a message!!
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post #23 of 40
Silly question, but any idea why we have seats in the showers in the cottages? I mean, this isn't a school (or industry) that is adaptable for the handicapped and these buildings don't even have elevators! Is it just a feature for... well.. you know? :bounce:
post #24 of 40
Actually I do. It was a suggestion from several of the female students. Something about shaving legs. I didn't ask any more questions at that point.
If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary's. But if it deals you a truckload of hand grenades... now THAT'S a message!!
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If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary's. But if it deals you a truckload of hand grenades... now THAT'S a message!!
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post #25 of 40
That makes sense. :)
post #26 of 40
Okay another random question. What cell phone carrier works the best up there? I have Cingular right now but my contract will be up in December so if there's a better option I'll change.
post #27 of 40
None work great, but I've not heard that one works better than any other. I have Verizon and get service in most places on campus.
post #28 of 40
Which of these cities are closest to Hyde Park? Westbury, White Plains or West Nyack.
post #29 of 40
What kind of places did you guys work for the 6 month experience required for the CIA?
"If memory serves me right..." - Takeshi Kaga
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"If memory serves me right..." - Takeshi Kaga
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post #30 of 40
White Plains and West Nyack are both about 70 miles away. Westbury is a good bit further away.

I worked as a cook in restaurants for a few years before heading up here.
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