CIA Alumni Spotlight: Roy Choi

It’s time for another Culinary Institute of America alumni spotlight. Here’s another chef and restaurateur you may have not known attended the CIA. But first, I’d like to apologize for the delay in this article. All this talk of the culinary world has lit a fire under me (no pun intended) to try and start cooking again, even if with pre sent meals. I’ve also decided to first re-do my kitchen in order to feel comfortable. Luckily an old co-worker of mine is now selling kitchen cabinets in Moreno Valley, CA and he’s really hooked up a beautiful kitchen for me. A kitchen worthy of culinary work. Pictures of the finished project will come soon. I just wanted to let you guys know why I haven’t written in a while.

Now, back to the spotlight on Roy Choi. For those of you who are fortunate enough to live in Southern California, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Kogi food truck. Roy Choi is one of the brilliant folks behind that awesome idea.

Roy Choi graduated the Culinary Institute of America in 1998. At the beginning of his career, for 15 years, he worked in classical French cuisines around the US. At that time he wasn’t feeling completely fulfilled, so he decided he wanted to do something involving the food he most loved.

Delicious Interesting Cuisine At Home

Okay, so I live on my own and I’m not the best chef. I know I know, for someone who loves talking about food all the time you would think I would know how to cook well but the truth is far from that. In fact, I’m recently been bombarded with home mailers and online ads in one form or another for one of these meal delivery services.

The idea of these meal delivery services is something I’ve actually been thinking about for a while. They come with all the ingredients you need along with supposedly easy to prepare recipes and theyre delivered

Ever hear of a guy named Anthony Bourdain?

anthony-bourdainYes THAT Anthony Bourdain. American Chef, author, and host of the Travel Channel’s TV show called Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations to name a few. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1978. He’s worked professionally as a chef at many restaurants including Brasserie Le Halles French bistro steakhouse located in New York which you should definitely stop by and visit, if you ever get the chance. This you will not regret and you will thank me and Anthony Bourdain for it later. These are just a very few of the things that Anthony Bourdain is known for. His list of accomplishments is very long.

One of the great things about the Culinary Institute of America is the caliber of chefs that t he school has produced. You don’t have to dig too deep or for too long to find famous chefs that came from the school.

My First Experience at the Wine Spectator Greystone.

My very first experience dining at one of the CIA Restaurant Group’s restaurants, was at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in Saint Helena, California, just outside of San Francisco. I’ll never forget the experience. A group of us took a weekend trip to Napa Valley to do some wine tasting one of my good friends from high school, who actually now runs a successful water damage service, suggested we go eat there. He was introduced to the restaurant a couple of years before by his girlfriend at the time. On Saturday, he was raving about the food all day during our wine tasting adventures at the Sterling Vineyard and he told me how much he thought we’d all enjoy eating there. So we all agreed to go eat there that night.

On our way there, he explained to us that the restaurant is part of the Culinary Institute of America and the staff is mostly comprised of the students that are attending the school. This sounded interesting. I’ve never really heard about culinary school doing this type of thing but later found out that other culinary schools also have restaurants where the students can get real world experience cooking in the restaurant setting. I thought this concept was brilliant.

We arrived at the CIA. The building was a stone covered beauty. Something out of movie. I guess the look and feel they say they go for is the modern farmhouse feel. What an a amazing experience it would be to go to school here, I thought to myself. We approached the entrance to the restaurant and entered through the red canopy covered door. The friendly staff greeted us and helped us find a table for our party. We opted to sit indoors, although they do have an outdoor dining area in the patio. They had an open kitchen and a fully stocked bar along with an extensive wine selection. So the drinks began to flow. We were after all celebrating a birthday that weekend.

Starting at the beginning with a bit of history.

They say the best place to start is at the beginning. Before we get into the food, the notable chefs, or the restaurants, I guess a good place to start would be to go over a little bit of the history behind the Culinary Institute of America.

When the school was first founded in 1946, it was called TheĀ  New Haven Restaurant Institute. It was founded by Frances Roth, who was a culinary educator, and Katherine Angell who was the wife of James Rowland Angell, who between the years of 1921 and 1937, had served as president of Yale University. With some help from Yale University, they founded the school in New Haven, Connecticut to help World War II veterans and provide them with vocational training.

The very first class took in sixteen students. At that time the school staff only consisted of one chef, one baker, and one dietitian. One year later, as the schools’ reputation was growing, they decided to change the name of the school to The Restaurant Institute of Connecticut. Four years later, in 1951, the name of the school was changed again to the name we all know and love now, The Culinary Institute of America.

The school started to outgrow itself around 1969 and a location in Hyde Park, New York was acquired. In 1972 the school started operating out of the New York location and they started awarding associate degrees. As the school attendance grew, they added more resources to the school, including residence halls, a career center, a library, and a continuing education center.

Hi there and welcome!

Greetings! Just a huge fan of all things Culinary here. I mostly appreciate the Culinary Institute of America. To me, it seems amazing, all the talented chefs that school has produced. I’ve met and spoken with a few of the students regarding their experiences. I’ve also eaten at a few of the restaurants that are part of the CIA restaurant group.

If any of you have ever had the chance to visit any one of their restaurants, you would see why the CIA or Culinary Institute of America is one of the best cooking schools in the nation. The food is amazing. Beyond delicious even. If you live near the California, New York, or Texas, you need to get in your car and visit one of their many restaurants if you haven’t yet. If you have, then you understand what I’m talking about and the reason why this foodie here decided to make website dedicated to all that jazz.

In any case, I just wanted to give a brief introduction about what this is all about. I hope you enjoy your stay here and the content I put out. If you’d like to say hi or share something interesting with me, you can contact me here. Cheers to you, and in the words of Robin Leech, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!”