|The CIA in January|
The CIA has probably the most beautiful campus I have ever seen. In every direction there is a breath taking view. The school is on the Hudson River. And when I say on, I mean on the river; so close you can walk to it. The flower pots are overflowing with eggplants, chard and herbs, behind the dorms are strawberry and raspberry bushes-- at this school, food is definitely life. The inside of the school is just as stunning as the outside, with its cathedral-esque dining room and state of the art kitchens.
The part they do not show you on the tour, however, is the basement. And what they do not tell you is that half of the students will end up down there for class instead of in the new show kitchens on the first floor. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No. I took all of my first year classes in the basement level classrooms. The only difference, really, is the decorative aspects, like the tiles on the walls and the huge windows that passers by use to gawk at you and wave their cameras around in. You are always on display at this school, and you will learn quickly how to always be doing your best, and of course, to always be a professional. Dodging the tour groups in the hallways will soon become second nature, much like the tri fold of the green checkered side towels.
The instructors at the school are wonderful and range from really nice to well, not so nice. But each teacher has something special about them, and if you are lucky, they will teach it you. The teachers are the best industry connections you could ever hope for, each knowing some of the most influential people in the industry.
The first couple of weeks at the school are probably the most intimidating, but fear not, you'll fall into stride. This school teaches you more than just cooking. It teaches you professionalism, networking, interpersonal skills and life lessons. At The Culinary Institute of America you will definitely leave with the tools to become a successful food professional.
I cannot wait to reconnect with the leaders of tomorrow and trace the steps of the leaders before me.
Business casual, bring it on.