The CIA has built an unparalleled legacy of leadership by focusing on the crucial issues that drive and shape the ever-changing food world. How is the college leading the way in culinary education as the foodservice and hospitality industry continues to evolve? Let us count the ways...
Building on ExcellenceProfessional Excellence and InnovationHealth and WellnessWorld Cuisines and CulturesSustainability and Food EthicsThe Legacy of Leadership Continues
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 management in 1993 so that students would be even more prepared for the complexity of the food profession and for future leadership in the industry. Today the college offers four bachelor’s degrees—in applied food studies, culinary science, food business management, and hospitality management.
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.
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 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.
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 through important advances such as Menus of Change®, CIA Consulting, and the Strategic Initiatives Group.
In the 1980s and ’90s the general public’s awareness of eating healthy began to shift, but the CIA was already ahead of the curve. Nutrition and sanitation had been taught at the college 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.
The CIA also entered into a 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.
America has always been a melting pot of many nationalities and, today more than ever, many cuisines. 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 and more complex 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 Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici course, which was launched in 1984 and later enhanced by the opening of the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine.
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.
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. And recognizing the ongoing need to raise the profile of Latin American cuisines and chefs in the United States, the CIA introduced its Texas campus in San Antonio. The CIA San Antonio offers degree programs, conferences, and an on-campus restaurant Nao Latin Gastro Bar. It also hosts students in the CIA's latin cuisines concentration for a semester.
In 2008, the college opened its very first international location, the CIA Singapore, offering a bachelor’s degree program in culinary arts management. And in 2013, the CIA reinterpreted classic French cuisine with the launch of The Bocuse Restaurant, a perfect blend of traditional French ingredients with bold modern techniques.
The CIA has partnered with other leading institutions to launch new learning and sharing on critical issues involving sustainability and food ethics. Such research advances at the college have included the Menu Research and Flavor Discovery initiative and the college’s collaboration with the University of California, Davis on food sourcing and sustainability.
During the American Food Studies concentration, students in the college’s bachelor’s degree program are introduced to the philosophy, key concepts, and practices at the center of the farm-to-table movement. These students will spend a full semester at the Napa Valley campus of the top culinary school in California, The Culinary Institute of America. The concentration's conservatory-like model will bring together masters (celebrity chefs, stars and CIA faculty) and scholars in a dynamic learning environment.
With its 800-seat Ecolab Auditorium and state-of-the-art conference facilities, the CIA’s Marriott Pavilion brings more professionals and visitors to the New York campus than ever before. The Pavilion provides a wide variery of new educational experiences for our students, and hosts a number of conferences with local growers, sustainability seminars, and other such important industry initiatives.
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 this legacy of leadership in its education programs, research, and service—and through the global impact of its 49,000-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.