Month: August 2016

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.