The Culinary Institute of America

  • The CIA Leads the Way

    "The first time I visited, I knew I had finally found a school that teaches the traditions of the world's cuisines...It's the best culinary school in the world." - Paul Bocuse, world-renowned chef and restaurateur

    Innovation in Education
    Elevation of the Profession
    Innovation of Thought Leadership
    Collaborations on Critical Issues
    The Legacy of Leadership Continues 

    Innovation in Education

    The mission of The Culinary Institute of America is to provide the world's best professional culinary education.  

    Since its founding in 1946, the CIA has offered education programs distinguished by their quality, innovation, and resources. Instruction emphasizes hands-on learning in small class settings, and innovations have included the creation of hands-on student-staffed restaurant courses, the introduction of courses in nutritional cooking and wine studies, the addition of management studies, and the CIA's unique curricula that assures students build their knowledge and skills in the ideal learning sequence.

    To address the growing responsibilities of foodservice professionals, the CIA has advanced its education programs in steps that have given depth of knowledge and stature to CIA graduates. The college introduced the first associate degree program in culinary arts in 1971. Following this success, an associate degree in baking and pastry arts was added in 1990-thereby establishing both culinary arts and baking and pastry arts majors, and providing formal degree education for both career paths. The CIA continued its innovations by offering the first-ever bachelor's degrees in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts management in 1993 so that students would be even more prepared for the complexity of the food professions and for future leadership in the industry.

    Throughout its history, the CIA developed supporting textbooks for its programs, including The Professional Chef, the first and leading culinary text in higher education, and many specialized texts about the culinary arts and foodservice management.

    Today, CIA programs are recognized internationally for their excellence. This excellence is backed by the college's extraordinary faculty and facilities at our campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore. The faculty is comprised of more than 150 chefs and instructors with unrivaled industry experience in the kitchens, bakeshops, and dining rooms of famed establishments-from New York City to San Francisco, and international capitals beyond. And along with Master Chefs and Bakers, the CIA's renowned teaching team includes PhDs, Culinary Olympians, authors, Registered Dietitians, and MBAs.

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    Elevation of the Profession

    When The Culinary Institute of America was founded, there was a clear need to build a positive image for culinary careers in the United States. In response, early CIA teaching emphasized the importance of professional values—addressing behavior, language, work habits, employee relations, sanitation, and even a strict uniform standard. Today, this focus has grown to become the five CIA core values that guide both the college and its graduates: excellence, leadership, professionalism, ethics, and respect for diversity.

    To extend opportunities for continued education to those working in foodservice, the CIA created accessible, short courses for professional development. Since 1960, the CIA has provided these continuing education courses in a program that now serves more than 3,000 professionals a year.

    And American chefs also needed to be elevated to the same level of respect as their European counterparts. To that end, the CIA affiliated with the American Culinary Federation to create and administer the Master Chef examination. The college further designed its own ProChef certification program for chefs, to validate both skills and knowledge. Overarching all, the college is proud to recognize excellence in the culinary profession with its annual CIA Leadership Awards—the "Augies," named for legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier.

    Now, with added thanks to popular media like the Food Network, the spotlight shines as never before on food professionals. In this world, CIA alumni have an extraordinary record of professional achievements. All reflect the extraordinary breadth of careers that CIA graduates successfully pursue in the food world.

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    Innovation of Thought Leadership

    The CIA has led the development of new culinary knowledge with the innovation of its thought leadership. It has continually brought forward new insights that advance the way people think about food—from expanding Americans' understanding of global cuisines to elevating American cuisine internationally.

    Not surprisingly, the curriculum taught by the early CIA was based on the classic techniques and recipes of Northern Europe. But, as the United States experienced new waves of immigration, American culinary professionals needed to broaden their education in global cuisines.

    To acknowledge the complexity of these international cuisines, the CIA innovated its curriculum by dividing world cuisine studies into separate regional classes—encompassing the Americas, Asia, and the Mediterranean. The college also added the Caterina de' Medici Restaurant course, which was launched in 1984 and later enhanced by the opening of the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine.

    Then, in 1995, the college added its California campus—the CIA at Greystone—and created a new center for advanced studies in global cuisines, flavors, and beverages. Now, the annual Worlds of Flavors Conference at Greystone is the "thought-leading" forum in America for world cuisines and emerging food trends.

    CIA thought leadership also played a key role in the American Cuisine movement. By the late 1970s, American chefs needed to learn about U.S. regional foods to advance their creativity. The college researched American menus, added American Regional Cooking to the curriculum, and opened the award-winning American Bounty Restaurant course in 1982. American Bounty became the CIA's living laboratory for students to learn about American chefs, products, and dishes. Today, the appreciation of American cuisine is second nature to both the college and the culinary profession.

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    Collaborations on Critical Issues

    The CIA's collaboration with other leading institutions has launched new learning and sharing on critical issues like nutrition and diversity.

    Nutrition and sanitation have been taught at the CIA since the early days in New Haven. These studies were further enhanced by the launch of the General Foods Nutrition Center in 1988 and publication of The Professional Chef's Techniques of Healthy Cooking in 1993.

    As public awareness of health issues grew, the college launched new initiatives regarding health and nutrition in the American diet. In 2004, the CIA joined with the Harvard School of Public Health to present the first Worlds of Healthy Flavors Conference, providing foodservice leaders with healthy menu options for their use. Then, the CIA entered into a second partnership with Harvard Medical School to create "Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives." This semi-annual event educates doctors on the latest nutrition science, and shows them how to help patients choose foods that reduce disease risk.

    Other research initiatives and conferences at the CIA include the college's collaboration with the University of California, Davis on food sourcing and sustainability.

    A second key industry topic—respect for diversity—is one of the college's core values. Diversity is reflected throughout the CIA's student body, faculty, student activities, and the curriculum itself.

    Within diversity, there is an ongoing need to raise the profile of Latin American cuisines and chefs in the United States. The CIA has responded vigorously with the addition of its CIA, San Antonio campus, in Texas. Backed by generous philanthropic and business support, its purpose is to realize a shared dream—to elevate Latin American culinary traditions and promote the development of Latino chefs. This bold initiative is moving forward with degree programs, a Latin Cuisines Certificate Program, Latin American cuisine classes, and conferences.

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    The Legacy of Leadership Continues

    Only one college—The Culinary Institute of America—has advanced the food professions and the American diet for over 65 years. And the CIA vigorously carries forward its legacies of Education, Elevation, Innovation, and Collaboration in its programs, research, and service—and through the global impact of its 46,000-plus alumni.

    With the support of the foodservice and hospitality industry, the CIA continues to lead the way, inspiring excellence the world over. We are confident that the future has never looked better for the world's premier culinary college and its graduates.

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  • The Culinary Institute of America

    1946 Campus Drive
    Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

    845-452-9600