Chocolate Discovery Center Comes to The Culinary Institute of America

Marty Thompson and Russell Scott
Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center
Chris Eklem

Ghirardelli Partners with College on Chocolate Classroom

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

St. Helena, CA – The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, maker of premium chocolate products, has joined with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to open the Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center. The facility, located at the college's Greystone campus in St. Helena, CA, was dedicated yesterday, March 4, with an unveiling and ribbon cutting—with a ribbon cutting using giant chocolate scissors.

In the Center, CIA students learn the science of chocolate and explore how quality chocolate can be used in baking, pastry, culinary, and beverage settings. It is home to the Chocolate and Confectionery Technology and Techniques course for baking and pastry arts degree students at the CIA. The Center also houses advanced education for professionals who want to hone their confectionery and chocolate making and sculpturing skills, as well as basic pastry arts classes for food enthusiasts.

"The rapid pace of innovation in the foodservice industry constantly creates new demands for specialized skills and knowledge," says CIA President Tim Ryan. "This exciting partnership will both inspire students and professionals to shape the future of the pastry arts and also delight chocolate aficionados everywhere."

"The Ghirardelli Company vision is to change the way the U.S. consumer experiences chocolate. All of us at Ghirardelli share a passion for our brand and a strong belief in its potential to connect with and engage consumers in all settings. We are excited to extend our passion to our foodservice business," says Marty Thompson, president and CEO of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. "This partnership offers a unique opportunity to show future chefs first-hand the impact that our high quality chocolate can have on their menu. In turn, we look forward to having these chefs' creativity and passion inform and influence our new recipes and product innovations."

Adds Christopher Eklem, the company's vice president of foodservice, "Ghirardelli is committed to enhance our presence within the chef community. What better way is there than to partner with the prestigious CIA? The relationship with the CIA is a natural fit because their students are the future leaders of the industry segments we serve, such as restaurants, bakeries, and specialty coffee establishments."

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center is centrally located on the first floor of the main building, where campus visitors can see students at work through the show windows. Many items produced there will be available for purchase in the Spice Islands® Marketplace and Flavor Bar at the CIA at Greystone.


Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1: Marty Thompson, president and CEO of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Russell Scott, dean of education at the CIA, cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center at the CIA at Greystone. (Photo credit: Charlie Gesell/CIA)
View hi-res image >

Photo 2: A look inside the new Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center at the CIA at Greystone. (Photo credit: Charlie Gesell/CIA)
View hi-res image >

Photo 3: Chris Eklem, vice president of foodservice for Ghirardelli admires the chocolate pair of scissors created by CIA Baking & Pastry Chef-Instructor, Stephen Durfee. The chocolate sculpture was created for the dedication of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center, where CIA students will learn more about creating foods with chocolate. (Photo credit: Charlie Gesell/CIA)
View hi-res image >

About The Culinary Institute of America
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 46,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

About The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a manufacturer and marketer of premium chocolate products. Incorporated in 1852 and in continuous operation since then, Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company. Ghirardelli continues to honor its heritage to this day. Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product. This control over the manufacturing process combined with Ghirardelli's proprietary bean blend and unique methods of roasting and processing, ensures that you are rewarded with the highest quality and richest products.

# # #

Contact Us

Media Relations
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499
Phone: 845-451-1457