The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is an American private not-for-profit college specializing in culinary and baking and pastry arts education. It was founded in 1946 as a vocational institute for returning veterans of World War II. The CIA's primary campus is located in Hyde Park, New York, with branch campuses in St. Helena, California, San Antonio, Texas, and the Republic of Singapore. The college offers associate and bachelor's degrees, and has the largest staff of American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chefs. The CIA also offers continuing education for professionals in the hospitality industry as well as conferences and consulting services. In addition to professional education, the college also offers recreational classes for non-professionals. The college operates student-run restaurants in their three U.S. campuses.


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The New Haven Restaurant Institute was founded by culinary educator Frances Roth and Katherine Angell (wife of James Rowland Angell) on May 22, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut as a vocational training school for returning World War II veterans. With assistance from Yale University, the school purchased the Davies mansion in New Haven's Prospect Hill neighborhood. The building, later known as Angell Hall, was joined by the adjacent Taft Mansion, now demolished. The first class consisted of sixteen students and the faculty included a dietitian, a baker, and a chef. In 1947 the school's name was changed to the Restaurant Institute of Connecticut to reflect its growing repute; the school's name was changed again to The Culinary Institute of America in 1951.

Enrollment grew to approximately 1,000 students by 1969, beyond the capacity of its original campus, so the school purchased the St. Andrew-on-Hudson Jesuit novitiate in Hyde Park, New York in 1970. In 1971, the college began awarding associate degrees. The following year, it began operating at the Hyde Park location. In 1973, the CIA's first restaurant opened, the Epicurean Room and Rabalais Grill (now the Bocuse Restaurant). From 1974 to 1979, the school built three residence halls, a culinary library, a career planning center, and a learning resources center. From 1982 to 1984, the American Bounty and Caterina de' Medici Restaurants and St. Andrew's Café opened. In 1984, the school's continuing education center (later named the J. Willard Marriott Education Center) opened, and the school improved its teaching kitchens and constructed an experimental kitchen and food laboratory. In 1990, the school opened a baking and pastry facility, named two years later as the Shunsuke Takaki School of Baking and Pastry. In 1993, the school opened its Conrad N. Hilton Library and began offering bachelor's degree programs. In 1995, the school's first branch campus opened, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California. In 1998, the Student Recreation Center was opened. The Apple Pie Bakery Café opened in 2000, and the Colavita Center opened the following year. More residence halls were built at the school's Hyde Park campus in 2004. In 2005, Anton Plaza opened in Hyde Park while the Ventura Center for Menu Research and Development opened in St. Helena. The school's third campus opened in 2008 in San Antonio. Two years later, the CIA opened a campus in Singapore consisting of a facility on the campus of Temasek Polytechnic. In 2012, the CIA began offering a bachelor's degree program in culinary science, and in 2014 introduced a bachelor's degree in applied food studies. Also in 2012, the college was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.

The school colors (green and gold) refer to the school's mission to sustain the environment and to strive for excellence.


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The college offers Associate in Occupational Studies degrees in either Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts at its New York and California campuses, and Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees in Culinary Arts Management, Baking and Pastry Arts Management, Culinary Science, and Applied Food Studies at its Hyde Park campus. The CIA's Texas campus offers Associate in Applied Science degrees in either Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts. Admission requires either a minimum of six months foodservice experience in a professional kitchen (excluding experience at fast food businesses), one year in a high school culinary arts program active in select National Student Organizations (NSOs), or a semester of college-level work in hands-on cooking and baking classes. Each program requires an eighteen-week externship at a CIA-approved foodservice operation. In the bachelor's degree management programs, concentrations include Farm-to-Table Cooking; Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality; Latin Cuisines; Advanced Concepts in Baking and Pastry; Intrapreneurship; and Asian Cuisines. Most of these concentrations include a semester away at either the CIA's California, Texas, or Singapore campuses. The school's degree programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The CIA also runs an accelerated culinary program for students who already have at least four years of experience in foodservice. The program includes the same basic classes as the school's associate degree programs, however the accelerated program does not include the externship requirement, and several classes are run with a faster-paced curriculum or including more in-depth material.

Other courses

The college's Hyde Park campus also runs continuing education courses and certificate programs. The California and Texas campuses run several continuing education classes, and the California campus also has programs for wine professionals. A variety of programs for food enthusiasts are run as well at the three U.S. campuses. The college also is partnered with Epicurious in running an online cooking school featuring a variety of culinary classes. The CIA also runs a certification program called ProChef, a program to recognize culinary and academic skills, as well as familiarity with business practices.

Teaching faculty

As of 2015, the college's president is L. Timothy Ryan, a graduate of the school and its fifth president. The school's faculty originate from approximately 170 countries, and the college employs the largest number of American Culinary Federation-certified Certified Master Chefs. The faculty also includes authors of textbooks, magazines, and other published media. Many of the instructors are graduates of the school.

Campus media

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La Papillote, the school's newspaper, was established in 1979. According to the newspaper's published "Compact", its primary purpose is to report the news of the institution to the students and other members of the campus community, and to examine contemporary issues of the foodservice and hospitality industry to inform, challenge, and develop the minds of students as they aspire to leadership roles in their chosen profession. The editor-in-chief position is held by a current student, and the paper uses submissions from students, chefs, and outside professionals.

mise en place is the college's magazine for alumni and the public. The magazine aims to improve the relationship between the school, its alumni, and the public by providing information of interest about the college, its alumni, and students; presenting balanced and accurate coverage of major issues and events concerning the college; highlighting alumni leadership and contributions to the foodservice industry; and creating a forum to help alumni network and build community.


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The CIA at Hyde Park

The Hyde Park campus operates four public restaurants for students to gain experience in kitchen and management skills. Food served at the American Bounty Restaurant is prepared in the style of cuisines of the Americas. The Bocuse Restaurant serves traditional French food using modern techniques. The Ristorante Caterina de' Medici is a restaurant with a focus on authentic Italian food. The Apple Pie Bakery Café has a casual atmosphere and serves sandwiches, soups, and baked foods.

The campus offers intercollegiate, intramural, and club athletics.

The CIA at Greystone

The CIA has a branch campus in St. Helena, California, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The campus runs associate degree programs as well as certificate programs, continuing education courses, custom classes, conferences, and seminars including the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival each year. The Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies runs wine instruction classes and a certification program for wine professionals.

The campus also operates three restaurants, including the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, which utilizes local and seasonal ingredients; the Bakery Café by illy, which serves sandwiches, soups, salads, breads, desserts, and hot beverages prepared by students in the college's baking and pastry arts degree program; and The Conservatory Restaurant, which is run by students of the American Food Studies: Farm-to-Table Cooking concentration of the school's bachelor's degree program.

The CIA San Antonio

The San Antonio campus is located in Downtown San Antonio's Pearl Brewery, and runs associate degree programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, as well as programs for professionals and food enthusiasts. The campus' restaurant, Nao: New World Flavors, serves Latin American dishes, in particular of Central and Latin America, regions of Mexico, and Caribbean islands. The campus also hosts seminars and conferences for foodservice professionals.

The CIA Singapore

The Culinary Institute of America, in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology and Temasek Polytechnic, runs its bachelor's degree program in Culinary Arts Management in Singapore to graduates of Polytechnic institutions who have earned diplomas in Hospitality & Tourism Management, Leisure & Resort Management, or Culinary & Catering Management, as well as to other hospitality, tourism, and culinary diploma program graduates. Temasek Polytechnic and the CIA constructed a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) educational facility with three teaching kitchens to house the programs.


The CIA has a brand licensing program sells branded products for foodservice operations and households, and it also publishes cookbooks for professional and home use. The school's general cookbook, The Professional Chef also has an interactive iPad edition that PC Magazine called "a new frontier for books." During the late 1990s, the CIA produced the PBS television show Cooking Secrets of the CIA.

Augie Award

The CIA annually honors people for success and achievements in the foodservice industry. The Augie Award was named for Auguste Escoffier, one of the most renowned and influential chefs. The award is presented at the CIA's annual Leadership Awards gala; the first awards were given in April 2007. In 2014, the following people won the Augie Award:

  • Masaharu Morimoto - for his contribution to the understanding of world cuisines and cultures. He is the chef/owner of Morimoto Restaurants.
  • Jean-Georges Vongerichten - for his dedication to professional excellence and innovation. He is the chef/owner of Jean-Georges Restaurants.
  • Hamdi Ulukaya - for his focus on health and wellness. Chef Ulukaya is founder and CEO of Chobani, Inc.
  • Leo Oosterveer - for his commitment to sustainability and food ethics. He is CEO of Unilever Food Solutions.

Notable alumni

The CIA has approximately 48,000 alumni in a variety of areas within the culinary industry. Some of the college's notable alumni include:

In popular media

Several books have been written about the CIA. Journalist Michael Ruhlman, in his first book about the CIA, The Making of a Chef, documents his experiences as an "undercover student" as he passes through the classes at an accelerated rate. In another book, The Soul of a Chef, he documents seven chefs taking the ACF Master Chef test held there semi-annually. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain also features an in-depth discussion of the author's education at the CIA. And the book Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at The Culinary Institute of America by Jonathan Dixon, provides a first-hand experience of a student's experiences at the CIA. The 1995 film Heavy was partially filmed at the school, using interiors and exteriors of its buildings.



Further reading

  • Bourdain, Anthony (2007). Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2 ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-089922-0.  About education at The Culinary Institute of America.
  • Ruhlman, Michael (October 15, 1999). The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute. New York: Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 0-8050-6173-8.  About the author's experiences in classes at the school..
  • Ruhlman, Michael (July 31, 2001). The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection. New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-100189-5.  About the ACF Master Chef test held at the school.
  • Greenberg, Jan (November 2010). "Secrets of the CIA". Hudson Valley Magazine. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Restaurants at The Culinary Institute of America
  • The Culinary Institute of America's channel on YouTube

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