Thursday, July 31, 2014

Culinary Research and Development Final Project

The food product development environment is dynamic and challenging and has become increasingly cross-disciplinary, technical, and global in scope. Research and Development teams need to follow a logical, structured, and evidence-based process while remaining adaptable and creative. Understanding how to work with and effectively articulate solutions to chefs, scientists, marketing experts, pilot plant managers/technicians, operators, and upper level management is part of being an effective and successful product developer. This Culinary R&D class project provides students with an opportunity to work in a team, on a real world challenge, through the product development process from ideation to prototype development.

Student teams were given “real world project briefs” that provide an R&D scenario as the context to explore principles of product development. Teams were given specific calorie, sodium, cost, consumer segments and other parameters and asked to address the following challenges and opportunities as part of the product development process:

·         People undergoing cancer treatments have significant dietary challenges and often find it difficult to maintain their necessary caloric intake during treatment. They often feel an aversion to certain aromas from ingredients such as garlic, onions, etc. Develop a product that meets their nutritional and sensory needs.
·         A food pantry would like to offer patrons more gluten-free options. Develop a gluten-free muffin that contains a half serving of fruit, and includes nuts/whole grains. The product will be par-baked in an off-site facility, frozen, distributed, and then finished baking in the regional food pantries.
·         Develop a vegetable and/or fruit based snack food that is savory, low in sodium, and low in calories from fat for school vending machines. The school district wants your team to develop two savory prototypes that have distinctly different flavor profiles and utilizes crops grown in New York State.
·         Create a healthy entrĂ©e school lunch item. It should be a “one pot dish” that can be frozen or thawed without negatively impacting quality. You should be able to serve it hot or cold.
·         Health-conscious consumers are looking to decrease their animal protein and sodium intake without sacrificing those savory flavors. You must develop a mushroom-based condiment that is stable at refrigeration temperatures for two weeks. The spread will be primarily used on sandwiches and with crackers.
·         An ice cream company wishes to revitalize its sales by offering a lower calorie option. Develop an ice cream that contains 15% less fat than the standard base composition for this company.

At the conclusion of this project, two prominent CIA alumni and CIA’s Director of Consulting kindly volunteered their time to serve as judges for the projects. Thank you to Jorge Collazo ’82, Head Chef for the NYC Department of Education, Kyle Shadix ’97, Corporate Executive Research Chef for PepsiCo Global R&D Beverage, and Ted Russin, MSc, Director of CIA Consulting.

Students who completed this project are pursuing their Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Science. Learn more about this program.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cook It In Your Mind First

by CIA Chef-Instructor John Reilly '88

When you first learn to cook it's all about following a recipe. As you grow and develop into a cook, you will start to rely on techniques, methods and ratios; you will put the recipes away and prepare dishes as an informed and educated cook.

Before you start to cook, you must be able to visualize the process.  You must map it out, strategize and plan.  It is at this point that you can go forward with great courage and passion.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Stars and Stripes 2014

By Ronnie Genee, Director for Residence Life
Every year The Culinary Institute of America holds its annual Stars and Stripes Weekend. This year we kicked off on Friday, June 27 with a movie in the new Marriot Pavilion. We showed Captain America: Winter Soldier and then sipped root beer floats outside on Heinz Plaza. (Appropriate, now that sassafras and other beverage-themed plants are growing on the plaza.)

It was a great start, but there was a lot more in store for Saturday and Sunday!

On Saturday, we treated the Hudson Valley to an amazing fireworks display that lasted over 20 minutes. Not to end the excitement early, we continued the evening with a DJ and dance on Anton Plaza from 10 PM – 1 AM. But what’s a CIA event without food? We served brownie sundaes on the plaza at midnight.

Just in case students didn’t have enough celebration, we also held our annual Stars and Stripes Block Party on Sunday from 12 -4 PM on our soccer field. With several clubs, organizations, and residence halls participating creating their own booths. We had field games, tie dye shirts by SPICE, eating contests, Stars and Stripes sunglasses, food tastings, and refreshments. Wait…there was more…we even brought to campus a stunt jump, water obstacle, sign making shop, and funnel cakes. We are also very grateful to have had the support of Smokehouse 220 for their generous support. They helped bring an amazing BBQ to the block party grilled by the RA staff of Hudson Hall.

Over the entire weekend, more than 600 students came to the various events. Everyone was excited to be with each other and celebrate an early Independence Day. And none of it would have been possible without the support of Student Activities, Recreation and Athletics, Residence Life, SPICE, and the leadership of the Stars and Stripes committee:  Elizabeth Zmarlicki – Student Activities Coordinator
Meka Harris – Resident Director of Rosenthal Hall
Ronnie Genee – Residence Director of Hudson Hall.

As always we look forward to next year’s Stars and Stripes and hope to see you there next time!

Check out our facebook photo album from Stars & Strips 2013.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Teaching Principles

by CIA Chef-Instructor Elizabeth Briggs

I find teaching Culinary Fundamentals is a huge responsibility.  I expect myself to prepare the student for their upcoming career in the food service industry.  I am responsible to teach them how to be teachable, to be humble, to listen, and to hear and understand the lessons of the day.  They need to think on their feet, to work with any type of person, to plan, and to organize. They need to work fast, clean, and neat. 

I need to teach them how to communicate and work as a cohesive group. I teach them to respect each other and each other’s ideas.  I help them to take direction from a group leader, but also to speak out in their group.  I help them come out of themselves and be an active part of the classroom, adding to their learning experience.

Sound like a lot? I’m not done… I am responsible for teaching them how to dress and to care for their whites. They need to know how to care for their personal hygiene throughout the class and their future endeavors in their profession.

And that’s all IN ADDITION to teaching them the culinary skills that they’ll build their education and careers on.


I have great expectations for my students!  I push them incredibly hard and I expect a great deal out of them. I feel overwhelmingly responsible to completely prepare them for the next phase of their education.

I love the fact that when my students leave my class at the end of the term and I look into their faces, there is no fear.  There is a sense of self-confidence and, I swear, they have grown three inches in the pride of accomplishment.  I am proud of how hard they have worked and how many layers of the onion they have peeled back to attain the foundation for their cooking journey.

“The only stupid question is the one you did not ask!”

As my students go into the kitchen of the Bocuse Restaurant on their pre-day one tour, we go from a very dark hallway into a crisp, white-tiled kitchen. We step from darkness into light and I tell them:

“Don’t stand in the doorway of Roth Hall on graduation day and say ‘I only wished I had studied harder!’ Make that commitment here with me today for an amazing educational journey through your learning experience at the CIA.”

Teaching has been THE most rewarding job I have ever had. The Culinary Institute of America has instilled in me that I am teaching the future of our industry.

Last week I read an article about influential women and men who had made a huge impact in our industry. And, in reflection, I spent 28 years helping most of them reach that goal. We teachers are the unsung heroes, but the reward for me is touching each person who has journeyed through my kitchens.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5 Methods to Be Successful in a Kitchen or Pastry Class

by CIA Chef-Instructor Freddy Brash '76

  1. Every block students come to me to complain about their team in a production kitchen because their partner does not come in prepared. Come on, chefs! We know that we are supposed to review the recipes the night before. You can't wing it. Not here that The Culinary Institute of America. It's necessary to not just write down your recipes, but to write them down to memorize them and really understand them. Test yourself or with your teammate by reciting the recipe by memory. Impress your chef instructor!
  2. Attitude. Go to class that day with an attitude of gratitude. Attitude is the only thing that you can change, and of course, you can only change yours! Stay positive even if the going gets a little shaky. A positive attitude will bring results.
  3. Perspiration. You have to sweat a little and move in the kitchen. If the pot sink fills up, go and help out. If you are in a production kitchen feeding our fellow classmates, we have to speed it up. No plate goes in the window unless you taste it first and know that it's well-seasoned.
  4. Let go! If you have prepared really well and your brain and heart are in the right place, then you have to let go and wait for the results. Sometimes waiting in the hallway for another door to open is the toughest.
  5. Wait a minute, did I say five ways? One more—try to have fun and enjoy yourself. The CIA is fun, but requires real work. "Success" does not always mean an "A" or a pat on the back. Success can also mean that you did the best that you could on that day. However, if you let your teammates know that they did a good job that day, then you may also hear it back in return. Pay it forward and affirm your teammate's talents to be a real team.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

CIA Residence Halls: Facilities

By Ronnie Genee, Director for Residence Life

The first thing most new students want to know is what their residence hall room will look like. You may want to start off by reading my post, CIA Residence Halls: What to Bring.

Kitchen in the Lodges. Want to see what the facilities in your dorm look like? Visit our virtual tour.

So once I leave my room, what will I find in my residence hall? Let’s talk about that. Every hall has a:

Kitchen—You’ll have a meal plan and spend a lot of time in classroom kitchens, but many students enjoy cooking and baking their own food. We’re a culinary school, after all!

  • Hours: 9 a.m.–12 a.m. every day
  • Equipped with:
    • 2 Viking Stoves/Ovens 
    • Microwave Oven
    • Counter Space
    • Sinks
    • Communal Fridge
  • What you won’t find (and you may want to bring with you):
    • Pots & Pans
    • Utensils
    • Dishes
    • Foil & Plastic Wrap
    • Sponges
    • Pot Holders
    • Cutting Boards

Laundry Room—Want your chef whites to stay clean and bright? We do, too. That’s why our laundry facilities are free. Yes, FREE. Bring your own high efficiency laundry detergent. And if you’ve never done laundry before, we’re sure your parents will let you start practicing now.

  • Hours: 24/7

Computer Lab—Yes, there’s one in every hall. So, whether or not you choose to bring a printer to campus, you’ve got no excuse for not writing that paper. (And you will write papers, not just cook!)

  • Hours: 24/7
  • What you won’t find:
    • Printers—The only student-use printer is located in the Conrad Hilton Library.

We also have another great resource I should mention: Resident Assistant Offices. Each hall has several resident assistants, who are students who work in our residence halls to assist all the residents. They share an office located on the main level of every building. In these offices you can find garbage bags, toilet paper, cleaning supplies (such as mops and brooms), as well as fun items like board games.

If you should need any further information please feel free to leave a comment here or call the Office of Residence Life at 845-451-1260.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Who Comes to The Learning Commons?

by Jodi Amato, Manager, Learning Support Services

Students come to the Learning Commons.

Many come to study on their own, to work on projects, to take monitored tests and to consult with counselors but among the most important role is the help from tutors that is offered, free, to all AOS and BPS students.

There are 35 tutors working here, both students and professionals. Samantha Cancro will graduate in July and then will be on her way to a terrific job in Italy. She has been a tutor for a year and a half. She helps students improve their knife skills. Her other areas of expertise include advising with culinary math, and coaching for the costing practical exam and the 2nd and 5th term finals. She is a peer counselor for nutrition studies too.  She urges students to come to the Center often and on a regular schedule, particularly those enrolled in the Bachelor’s Degree program. She suggests that if you work well with a specific tutor, make an appointment in advance and stick with the guide who will reinforce the knowledge learned in any and every class from algebra to wines, mixology and spirits.

Michael McCarey is a 9th term student who has worked as a tutor since the early days of planning The Library Learning Commons. He is an expert “teacher” in the same areas as Samantha and his fields include microeconomics and baking and pastry.  He says, “Many students know they need help, but tend to hesitate and try to struggle along on their own. They need only ask, and they will find a hand to help with gastronomy and with setting goals. This assistance is available  from 8-11pm Monday-Thursday, 8-7 Fridays, Saturday 10-5 and Sundays 12-9.  

Other tutors in The Learning Center specialize in languages coaching engaging in conversation or even just using flash cards.

Two new additions to the writing tutors are Stephen Wilson and Theresa Edwards.  Wilson, (as he is generally called,) has been a writing instructor since 2002 following several years as a high school English teacher. He prefers to work with students, one on one, rather than in a classroom. He offers an understanding heart and vast pool of knowledge that he shares with those who are struggling with academics. He welcomes some who are desperately looking for help and others who are hoping to increase their level of expertise. He keeps what he calls, “a handle on their progress” and provides reassurance targeted to class instruction in this supportive environment.

Theresa Edwards has been a tutor since she was in high school.  She is an accomplished professional tutor with two Master’s Degrees; an M.A. in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has published three books of poetry. She joins the writing faculty in the Library Commons from Marist College. Her guidance is welcomed by those needing assistance with writing a cover letter and resume and with all areas of literary writing skills. She is particularly qualified to provide guidance with ESL and ELL students and, importantly, with SKYPE: enabling students on extern to communicate with her and receive advice about their all-important Journal.

Students, whether at the beginning of their time here at the college, or close to graduation, may spend a few minutes or up to several hours with their personal tutor. In the end they achieve higher grades and answers to baffling challenges. The best thing is that they leave with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.