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 The 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.
Then between the years of 1982 and 1984, that’s when they opened the first restaurants. The American Bounty, which focuses in cuisines of the Americas, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici & Al Forno Trattoria, which focuses on authentic Italian cuisines, along with Saint Andrews Cafe were opened at this time. These restaurants were open to the public and the idea was that the students would get real world on the job training in world class restaurants and the public could enjoy the food prepared by up and coming chefs. Brilliant!
In 1995 the school opened it’s first branch campus in Saint Helena, California name The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Their restaurant, Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant was the first of the CIA restaurants that I ever visited.
In the year of 2008 the school officially opened it’s doors to it’s third branch campus in the heartland of America, San Antonio Texas. The San Antonio location offered a platform to specialize in Latin American cuisines, and helped serve professionals in the Latino foodservice industry.
In 2011, the school opened it’s first international location and fourth branch location, in Singapore. The Singapore location was opened in collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Technology.
As you can see the school has been expanding beyond the shores of America, and along with it, the selection of restaurants that are open to the public. Now people around the world can benefit from both the world class schooling and chefs that the institute is producing, and the delicious selection of world class restaurants you can visit not only nation-wide, but soon, world-wide. My personal bucket list consists of eventually experiencing each one of the amazing restaurants that are included in the CIA Restaurant Group.
If you’d like to drop me a line feel free to contact me.