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The Culinary Institute of America

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I am on staff at the Culinary Institute of America. I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to get the opinion/insight of someone on the inside of the world’s premier culinary college.

I'll try to answer questions regarding culinary school whenever I can. I'll also try to keep you up to date on things you might find interesting such new degree programs, special grants, etc.

Let me know if you have any questions!
post #2 of 36
Hello!

I hope to enrol early 2009!
Here's a really weird question.

Is it the norm to have classes on sundays?
And what's the traffic like to Manhattan Island on a sunday morning?
I know it's about 1 1/2 hour away.
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Around The World In 40 Winks
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Around The World In 40 Winks
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post #3 of 36
Hey Chris,
Just back from Boot Camp and my wife has already scheduled me to cook for dinner parties the next three weekends. Anyway, to my question. My 12 year old son was intrigued by my stories of boot camp. I know that there are one day programs for kids now. Do you know if there are any plans to offer other opportunities for kids at the CIA? A two or three day program, maybe having parents and kids work together, would be really cool. By the way, tell Chef D that I am going to try to do the mozzarella roll tomorrow for a party. Hopefully, I was watching close enough to not screw it up too badly.
post #4 of 36

great, great, great

WOW, that is great to have you around to help potential cooks...

I hope you get lots of questions answered!

Welcome:beer:
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi Nicholas!

There are no Sunday Classes.

The Culinary Institute of America is in Hyde Park, NY and NYC is about 1.5 hours away (like you say). I don't frequent the city that often but I would guess traffic is on the lighter side on Sunday mornings in Manhattan!
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Boot camp for parents and kids is not something I've heard of. I'll pass along the suggestion to the CE department.

A mozzerella roll sounds tasty. Make us proud!
post #7 of 36

hi, fun shall it be to be a chef

Hi Chris,

How much is the school fee now in your school for a one year culinary program?
Is your program accredited internationally, like in Europe, where my son eventually would like to work after?
Does the program cost includes accomodation and food?
How long are your school breaks in the one year program, to possibly forecast other expenses?

thank you, would appreciate your feedback.

regards
post #8 of 36

Culinary school?

I've been researching culinary schools for quite some time now and have several questions:
Do you have a requirement for previous experience in the culinary field? And if so, are there any exceptions?
How would you say students like the school overall?
Thank you so much for any help you can give me. I've done research, but have been unable to find solid answers to either of these questions. Thank you so much!
Kate
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Kate
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post #9 of 36
Hi Chris,

I am planning to take Certificate in Baking & Partry next year at CIA on Napa Valley campus. How long do I have to wait before starting classes ?
Can I take extra courses besides assigned certificate program courses?
If I try 5 days baking & pastry session, does CIA provide housing? where can I stay?

Thanks.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
The degree programs can't be completed in one year. An associates degree takes 21 months and the bachelors degree takes 30 months. A complete tuition breakdown is available on the CIA web site here http://www.ciachef.edu/admissions/finaid/tuition.asp .

The Culinary institute of America is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School. This organization was founded in 1887 and serves schools in the United States as well as many other countries,

The 1 year program you mention may be a certificate program. I confess I don't know as much about the certificate programs. There are certificates offered through the California campus. This may be what you are refering to.
post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 
There is a food service experience requirement at the CIA. It is 6 months of hands-on work on a part-time basis.

The students I talk to all seem to be very happy here. But I assume you'd expect to hear that haha. There is a program in place where you can speak with current students in the evening. The number for that program is 845-451-1515. You should be able to reach the telecounselors from 6-9 PM Eastern.
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Like I mentioned earlier I'm not well versed in the certificate programs out at our Greystone campus. The best thing you can do is give them a call directly. The Greystone staff is excellent. They'll be more than willing to answer your questions.

Great questions so far! Keep the degree questions coming!
post #13 of 36

AOS-Pastry and Baking

HELLo,
In the AOS in Pastry /Baking program at the CIA there is a section where you work in one of on campus restaurants. What is this like? what is the day to day. Also what is a normal class day at the CIA like?
post #14 of 36

Thanks!

Thanks so much for your help!:look:
Kate
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Kate
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post #15 of 36

THE is a bit deep you americans.

:chef: "The" world premier culinary school why are near on 35 of the top restaurants in the workld from other countries?....Just teasing I have had good meals here in the US independant restaurants mostly and then bad meals chain restaurants.
Must go its late PS also I learnt London City and Guilds 706/1 and 706/2 when instructors could yell at you and it wouldn't be politically incorect or make you stay up 18 hours of the day and make meals of a field kitchen as part of our training (in the NZ Army).....


I am on staff at the Culinary Institute of America. I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to get the opinion/insight of someone on the inside of the world’s premier culinary college.

I'll try to answer questions regarding culinary school whenever I can. I'll also try to keep you up to date on things you might find interesting such new degree programs, special grants, etc.

Let me know if you have any questions![/quote]
post #16 of 36
Chris,

I was wondering what the dorm life would be like for a 21 year old? Is it similiar to usaul college dorm life?

Also, J&W offers some kind of job placement thing when you graduate... does CIA do the same?


THANKS a bunch!
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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post #17 of 36

Concerned

Hi Chris,

I am considering going to culinary school to round out what I know, and move up in my career(associate Pastry Program). I was considering either NECI or the CIA. Stan from Bend posted something that concerned me.

The quote tells me that Stan only saw the Mozzarella roll done, but did not have the opportunity to do it himself in class. Cooking is very tactile, just seeing something done is not enough. Imagine having to make croissant or puff pastry having never touched the dough as it is supposed to be. I can already do that, but I'd hate to not have the opportunity to really work on pulling sugar, have the opportunity to turn puff pastry scraps into a swan, etc.

I'm not being negative, just doing my DD. I can watch Charlie Trotter do some nice work on the food network or PBS.

Thanks,

Derek
Will work for a bed and shower... I want to find a place to live that isn't Vermont. I am interested in seeing a few sites.
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Will work for a bed and shower... I want to find a place to live that isn't Vermont. I am interested in seeing a few sites.
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post #18 of 36

Starting CIA October '06

Hi, Chris, that's cool you posted this thread because I've been wanting to talk to people familiar with CIA! I'm starting in October, and I do have many questions but I'll try to keep it to a few: living accomodations & externships.

(1) Do most students, regardless of age, live in the dorms? I read on the website you don't get your room assignment until 1 week before you arrive. I'm 26 and would much prefer living off-campus, if other students do...however, if the majority of students live on campus I guess I would rather do that. (I have a car & a cat). Any advice?

(2) Regarding externships, is it extremely difficult to secure an overseas externship? Any information you have on obtaining externships, in fact, would be much appreciated. Thanks!
post #19 of 36

pastry Ideas

Hi chris. I am a new chef and have started working on coming up with a new dessert mune for my work. I was wondering if you guys had any good ideas.
Casey A Burton
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Casey A Burton
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post #20 of 36
CIA Chris...Consider first my disclaimer: I have worked with five CIA alumni during the course of my 15 years in professional kitchens and all five CIA grads have been horribly dissapointing as cooks. I realize that there is a minimum experience requirement in order to be accepted into the program and I feel it should be longer than six months and more carefully scrutinized. CIA carries a pretty heavy name, considered the best culinary education in the U.S. And, for what it's worth, I have known cooks that have come from other schools that were equally ill-equipped as the CIA grads. What I don't understand is how that can possibly be the case. Don't misunderstand me, I am currently going to school so I can take exams for three ACF certificates even though I have the more than enough experience. I recognize the need for "papers". Why do we have such a problem with people who come out of very good programs, like CIA and various other state culinary programs that can't handle themselves in a professional environment? I can give plenty of examples if you wish, but I really would like to know what is going on in this respect.
post #21 of 36
Hello Chris. I hope to enroll in 2007 - 2008 year. I am curently finished with my 3rd year of Culinary Arts at a Technical Highschool. I take the normal classes along with 3 hours of culinary each day. I have taken quite a few classes outside of school at local culinary schools. My grades are avrage. I wanted to know, if you can tell me, how lickley i am to be accepted into the CIA.

I also wanted to know the basic questions, How many hours a day are we in class, how many days a week, how many weeks a year, and how many people per class?

Also do we just take culinary arts or do we take the normal college classes such as math, science and english and so on?

I have heard that we dont but i want to hear it streight from someone who knows what they are talking about.
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #22 of 36

Hello? Is anybody in there?

CIA Chris...I'm waiting for you to address my question, or to, at the very least, help me remove the burr from underneath my saddle.
post #23 of 36
Do you really expect him to be beholden to all CIA grads? I'm sure that CIA grads, as well as grads from other schools, have run the gamut in skill level, professionalism and knowledge.

I'm curious what you mean by ill-equipped. Do you mean that you can't stick them on the line on a saturday night right out of school and expect them to keep up? Or do you mean basic cooking skills, terms, etc that they have no clue about?

Knowledge isn't the same as experience. School will teach you theory and book knowledge, work will teach you practicality, speed, and hone technique by repitition.

Can't expect a med school grad to start taking their own patients solo right out of school, can you?

I just hope you understand that their is a range of skill levels in ALL professions, and all schools, and all kitchens. I'm sorry that you have had bad experiences with the CIA grads, but I think that is hardly a large enough cross section to judge the entirety of CIA alumni and students.
post #24 of 36
In Seattle, Wa there is an executive chef name Kevin Sykes. He's a graduate of the CIA. I've seen him work. Truely inspiring. But, that's because he has many years of experience under his belt. I think that all chefs going to school should get intensive "hands on" experience before they ever graduate. I went to Army cook school. I got plenty of hands on experience. I feel that I was well equipped to handle anything when I got back to my unit. But, I actually learned more at my unit than I did in school. For me, apprenticeship is the way to go. An excellant chef once told me that you need 7 years in the kitchen to really know what you are doing.
Dale Angelo Iannello
Wanna be Pastry Chef
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Dale Angelo Iannello
Wanna be Pastry Chef
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post #25 of 36
Someday...I'm hardly judging all CIA grads based on the negative experience I personally have had. I'm certaintly not trashing the program. My only problem with what I see is that it promotes a certain arrogant attitude. Maybe it comes from having shelled out criminal amounts of cash to go through it, maybe it's the name. I have had the honor of learning from guys that have come from very humble means that could cook ANY former culinary student under the table...and then at the end of the shift, instruct them how to clean. I think school is only good for getting the "papers", because sometimes you have to actually prove your worth to the industry on paper. Otherwise, it's not all that. H*ll, one of my favorite well-known chefs, Anthony Bourdain, would even concur on this note.

On the "ill-equipped" side note, what I mean is that, coming from a school that bosts such high and mighty skills of its grads and produces lack luster apprentices...I think people should seriously re-consider highering someone to a chef postion straight out of any culinary school. Make them make their bones, earn stripes their stripes first. Pomp and circumstance have no place in the kitchen. That crap died when American cooks took over and left the French to wallow in their self-preceived importance.

And on the "Knowledge vs. Experience" note, Agreeable, experience is more valuble than book knowledge. You can read a book about how to fight with a knife, but I seriously doubt you will be willing to take that knowledge into battle. So why all the fuss about which school one has gone to? Equally, I could list the chefs I have studied under and my knowledge base, but what really seperates the cooks from the hacks is perfection, speed, and consistency. CIA may tell you never to add cream to a beurre blanc. Ok, true, but are they telling you that beacause they imagine that your only application of this teaching will be in a prefectly controlled evironment? On the line, you learn that a touch of cream helps to stablize the sauce and able to hold it for several hours instead of having to make to order when you are turing your dining room over three times in an evening. I'd love to go on...perhaps I have a book in the making..."The Hardened Cook vs. The Pompass Know-it Alls". I'll get started on that right away!
post #26 of 36
I tried this on a regular post with no responses, so I will try my question here:

What can you tell me about the CIA Wine program at Greystone? Can you take separate classes or do you need to enroll by semester? Do you need the 6 month work experience to participate?
post #27 of 36
I agree with you. I just hope you understand that not all CIA grads feel that way, and not all culinary students feel that way as well. And going to culinary school doesn't JUST give you papers. It gives you a lot more than that. It gives you a base understanding of food...sauces, stocks, cooking techniques, equipment and product identification, basic meat fab, plate presentations, job connections, etc.

Can you learn those things on the job? Of course. I wouldn't argue otherwise. But knowing those basics before stepping foot into the kitchen can give you a leg up, and maybe makes you more of an attractive hire (assuming you have a good attitude) than someone who has a similar attitude but would need a LOT of training right out of the gate.

Does going to culinary school make you a cook? A chef? No. And I suspect that those students who think that are quickly humbled. It is unfortunate that you have only been exposed to those types of students.

I mean, even if school only teaches you the "perfect way" (if there even is such a thing) to do things, like your buerre blanc example, a good chef/cook will explain to the student this is how he/she wants it done, and why. And that should be the end of the story. If my chef, for example, told me to blanch asparagus in 180 degree water for 30 minutes, I would do it (even though I know it is obscenely wrong). I wouldn't even argue...because he/she is the chef. That's what they want. It's their restaurant, their kitchen their money.

Like I said, just keep in mind that those people don't speak for all culinary students.
post #28 of 36

Dear Chef

What separates your school from all of the rest? I own a business in Western Wisconsin and supply a lot to the Twin Cities and the schools they have there are producing kids each year with no real techniques, but are paying close to $45000 for a 1.5 year degree. I myself was looking for a gradute to help me in the business, but they cannot even butcher meat. So what separates your school from all of the rest?

Thanks

Steve Loppnow
Venison America
http://www.venisonamerica.com

"I have never met an animal that I did not think looked tasty"
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http://www.venisonamerica.com

"I have never met an animal that I did not think looked tasty"
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post #29 of 36
Someday...I'm gathering that you may understand that what is taught in "school" is often discarded for the sake of real buisness. My contention is that chefs like my self have to "re-educate" many of these culinary studdents. And there is much: "I'm the chef here and you don't jack sh*t about this place, so do what I say, the way that I say...ALWAYS!!!" I don't like those kinds of experiences. I don't have time to teach someone who has already been "taught". I show how to do it one time. If I have to spend time deconstructing the mind of a pompass culinary grad, I'd just assume kick them to the curb. Sorry 'bout your luck and your overpriced tuition. No time for "showing you the ropes".
post #30 of 36
I wouldn't necessarily say that what is taught in school is often discarded...some things, sure, but not a lot. I could make a list of things I learned in school that, on my internship, are pretty much exactly the same procedures...recipes vary, but the way to do them is the same.

I just think you need to realize that not all culinary students need to be deconstructed. I really am sorry that you seem to have worked with people like that, and your opinion is so low on ALL culinary students.

I think I sense a teensy bit of resentment from a person like yourself, who (I"m assuming) didn't go to school and was brought up through the industry. So maybe you have a standard dislike for anyone you feel is taking a "quick" or "easy" way through the business, I don't know, and if they didn't do it the way you did they aren't worth your time. People like myself who attend culinary school, and are using it as a starting point for their career, are the kinds of students you want to have work for you.

Try to remember that being a chef is about educating and re-educating staff, FoH and BoH, on a pretty much everyday basis. Maybe I don't need to tell you that, but I think a little re-adjustment on your POV wouldn't hurt.
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