Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

CIA’s Food Bank Donation Program Expands

Angel Rivera of The Culinary Institute of America and Rich Johnson of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley load food donations from the college onto a Food Bank truck on April 20, 2018.

Hyde Park, NY – A program at The Culinary Institute of America to feed the hungry of the Hudson Valley has proven so successful among the college’s faculty and students that it has expanded from once-a-week delivery to three days each week.

With 42 teaching kitchens and bakeshops on the CIA’s Hyde Park campus, there is often more food produced than can be eaten by students. In the past, food that wasn’t served was composted and sent to an organic farm. A few years ago, spearheaded by Professor Robert Perillo, the college began working on a way to put that food to even better use, so he contacted the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

Instituting a plan to make sure food safety would not be compromised and that resources of the not-for-profit college wouldn’t be strained, Perillo and his colleagues on the faculty started small, with food that could be frozen—mostly soups from the Culinary Fundamentals course.

In 2017, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley volunteers picked up almost three tons of food from the CIA, enough for 4,870 meals. As more faculty members began to contribute, finding space in the storeroom was becoming an issue. So, as of March 2018, Food Bank employees now stop by campus three times a week. An added benefit of the more frequent pickups is that freezing is no longer necessary, meaning a greater variety of food can be donated.

“We are truly grateful for the ongoing support of the CIA, and we look forward to having even more of their delicious food to share,” says Paul Stermer, director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. “Every day, the Food Bank is helping fight hunger for more than 100,000 food-insecure people throughout the Hudson Valley, and we couldn’t do this work without our many partners, including the CIA.”

Perillo says he had three reasons for wanting to create the program at the college: reducing food waste, helping the community, and educating students about the first two points. Through the campus Student Government Organization, a survey found 95% student support for the effort.

“Many students who were unaware of food insecurity in their own community are now being made aware,” Chef Perillo says. “I want students to be more conscious about what they’re throwing away before putting it in compost or the trash.”

He adds that students are naturally drawn to social and environmental causes, and expects some may pursue careers in non-governmental organizations dealing with hunger issues. “The more people become aware, the more they look at their own opportunities,” says Perillo.

As the program becomes the cultural norm on campus, Perillo expects donations to triple this year.

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Images:

Rich Johnson of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and Angel Rivera of The Culinary Institute of America load food donations from the college onto a Food Bank truck on April 20, 2018. The CIA now provides food to the charitable organization three days a week. (Photo credit: CIA/Jeff Levine)
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Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Writer

About The Culinary Institute of America:

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers bachelor’s degrees in management, culinary arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, and associate degrees in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The college also offers executive education through its Food Business School along with certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of nearly 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food business. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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