The Culinary Institute of America (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?
The CIA’s mission is to provide the world’s best professional culinary education.
Since its inception in 1946, the CIA has offered world-class food education programs distinguished by quality, innovation, and vast resources. Instruction emphasizes hands-on learning in small class settings, and over the years have integrated student-operated restaurants; courses in nutritional cooking, wine studies, and management studies; and additional professional development that ensures CIA students are career-ready upon graduation.
To address the growing responsibilities of foodservice professionals, the CIA has advanced its education programs to broaden the knowledge of CIA graduates. This includes:
Throughout its history, the CIA has published textbooks for its programs, including The Professional Chef, the first and leading culinary text in higher education, as well as many specialized texts about 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 hospitality and food industry experience in the kitchens, bakeshops, and dining rooms of famed establishments—from New York City to San Francisco to international cities beyond. In addition to master chefs and bakers, the CIA’s renowned faculty includes teachers with PhDs, culinary olympians, authors, registered dietitians, and MBAs.
When the 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 such as 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:
To extend opportunities for continued education to those currently working in foodservice, the CIA created accessible, short courses for further 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.
Furthermore, to elevate American chefs to the same level of respect as their European counterparts, the CIA partnered 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. In addition, the college is proud to recognize excellence in the culinary profession with its annual CIA Leadership Awards—the “Augies”—named for Escoffier. Lastly, the CIA has also served as a thought leader in the development of new culinary knowledge through important advances such as Menus of Change®, CIA Consulting, and the Strategic Initiatives Group.
Today, through TV shows, broadcast networks like the Food Network, and the Internet, the spotlight shines as never before on food professionals. In this world, CIA alumni have an extraordinary record of professional achievements that reflects the extraordinary breadth of their careers in the food world.
Though the public’s awareness of eating healthy began to shift as early as the 1980s, the CIA was already ahead of the curve by offering nutrition and sanitation course since its earliest days. 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 partnered 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—both in and out of the kitchen. At the CIA, world cuisine studies encompass the Americas, Asia, and the Mediterranean, which also includes 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.
The college opened the award-winning American Bounty Restaurant course in 1982. This 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.
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 Savor The Culinary Institute of America. 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, which offers 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 Farm-to-Table 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 CIA California. The concentration’s conservatory-like model brings together masters (celebrity chefs, stars, scholars, and CIA faculty) 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 variety of new educational experiences for our students, and hosts a number of conferences with local growers, sustainability seminars, and other important industry initiatives.
Only one college—the Culinary Institute of America—has advanced the food professions and the American diet for more than 65 years. The CIA vigorously advances its legacy of leadership in education, research, and service—and through the global impact of more than 50,000 alumni.
With the support of the foodservice and hospitality industry, the CIA continues to lead the way, inspiring excellence in culinary education throughout the world. We are confident that the future has never looked better for the world’s premier culinary college and distinguished CIA graduates.