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Chowder Cook Off 2017

BY: Deja Burrows, BBA Food Business Management

If you were to enter the gymnasium at the Culinary Institute of America on March 12th, you would have been enveloped in the smooth sounds of the live band and salty air smell of simmering clams. Fourteen teams were selected to be a part of the CIA’s 16th Annual Chowder Cook Off, with food preparations starting the day before and decorations being carefully crafted from weeks before the event. The competition included two components – the first being the judged competition with a panel of judges that each team presented with hot bowls of ungarnished chowders for critique. Fellow students and other members of the CIA family were invited to help in judging for the People’s Choice award. A ballot holding fourteen boxes – one for each team – was given out and each ballot was stamped upon approaching the booth and sampling the chowder. Each guest could vote for the chowder they liked best. Every stamp on their voter’s card counting as a point.

With themes as varied as prison lunch style chowder to Finding Dory, costumes and decorations filled the room with color and style. SPICE even gave the guests themselves a chance to dress up with a “decorate your own sailor hat” table, including shells and fabric paint. So, with voter cards in hand and sailor hats on their  heads, guests set out to try the carefully crafted chowders. Each chowder had its own signature style. Some included seafood rather than clams; crawfish, shrimp and even cod roe made an appearance while others included classic ingredients such potatoes,  corn, and bacon for a smoky finish. Though the creamy cups of steaming chowder were delicious on their own, the garnishes put them over the top. Such additions included freshly-baked, moist, crab shaped corn biscuits, crisp potato sticks, and charred corn. After sampling as many cups of chowder as one could handle and dropping their ballots into the bucket of the team whose chowder they liked the best, guests gathered around to witness the great oyster shucking and eating contest. With contestants signing up earlier in the day, they were organized into three separate rounds. Each person was given a platter of ten oysters with a cutting board, towel and oyster shucker. After being prompted to start, each contestant began prying open and flipping over each of their oysters as quickly as possible until the victor dropped his shucker and shot his arms up in pride. The winner from each of the three rounds then returned for a face off, with techniques being displayed such as the use of a glove to allow in-hand shucking and bending to be at table height. The last round ended in a tie with two contestants finishing too close for a clear winner to be decided upon. This then led to a five oyster shuck off to reveal the true winner. The festivities didn’t end there; something had to be done with all those shucked oysters, so three rounds of brave contestants lined off to slurp down oysters with a concoction of cocktail and hot sauces that made some turn bright red. While both competitions excited the guests, all ballots – including the judges and the common people – were being tallied in the background. The humming of the mechanical shark was soon ceased, the bands equipment were packed away, and all contestants gathered in the middle of the carpeted gym anxiously awaiting the big reveal. In addition to first second and third place, other categories included: people ‘s choice, showmanship (based on the ascetic of their booths and costumes) and professionalism based on timeliness of ordering, cleanliness and overall attitude throughout the competition. After weeks of making decorations, two days of food preparation and full day of cooking and greeting the Chowder Cook Off Winners were finally revealed to be:                                                       

Professionalism Award – Finding Flounder ( Team 3)                                                                              

                                                              Showmanship Award-Crusty Clam ( Team 14)

                                                              People’s Choice- Star Anise ( Team 2)

                                                              3rd Place Overall-Straight out of Clamton ( Team 8)

                                                              2nd Place Overall-  Bivalve & The Crawdaddies ( Team 11)

                                                              1st Place Overall – Just Keep Swimming ( Team 1 )

It’s  clear to see the 16th Annual Chowder Cook-off was an exciting time for both the competitors  and guests. Congratulations to all the teams that participated, and especially to those who placed. Next year, don’t be afraid to submit your own recipe or come and have a fun time at the CIA’s Annual Chowder Cook Off.   

 

 

March Career Fair

BY: Timothy Slavin, AOS Culinary

The CIA’s Spring Career Fair got off to a frigid start, but nonetheless was another incredible opportunity for networking with leading companies spanning the globe. Despite the two day delay to the event, over 100 restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and many other hospitality related properties were on campus to recruit CIA students. Companies such as Hyatt, Four Seasons, The Little Nell, The French Laundry, Blue Hill, and many others were here to talk with students. Whether you are looking for an externship, a stage, or a job after graduation, there were many interesting companies to speak with. I had the opportunity to interview a couple of the companies represented and ask why they invest so many resources in recruiting students from the CIA.

The first person I interviewed was Jessica Woodson from Bonura Hospitality Group. Bonura has many businesses located in the Hudson Valley region such as Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, NY, Shadows on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Blu Pointe in Newburgh, NY. “We’ve been coming to the CIA for 5 years because of the quality of the students here,” Jessica says. Because of the proximity of their concepts to the CIA campus, it makes perfect sense for Bonura to focus on recruiting from the school. One of the people representing Bonura in addition to Jessica was John Chamorro, a CIA graduate. “I met John at a CIA career fair and he ended up working for us after school. He is now the Wine Director for Blue Pointe.” It was inspiring to see the type of impact that a graduate from CIA can have so immediately upon a company.

Tami Stephan from Omega Institute for Holistic Studies was also on campus interviewing students for externships and jobs. Omega is a holistic retreat located in Rhinebeck that focus on healthy, sustainable eating, meditation, yoga, and other holistic studies. They have several CIA alumni that have worked for them, including their previous two chefs. When I asked Tami what sets apart students from the CIA versus students from other schools or employees lacking in formal training, she said, “The professionalism that the students display sets them apart. They care about what sustainability and what we are doing. They are real go-getters.” These, among other qualities, are what has brought Omega to CIA’s career fairs for the last four years.

Maybe you aren’t ready to start looking for an externship or job post-graduation, but it is always a great idea to network and talk to recruiters at the career fair. Many of them have stood where you are, and can answer any questions you might have about life after CIA, and what kind of career path you might take. If you missed this one, the next career fair is scheduled for June 5th. Dress nice, bring resumes, and dream big!

mountains

Historic women of the cia

BY: April Johnson, AOS Culinary

March is National Women’s History Month, where we take the time to remember the great women who have changed the world for the better.  Two of these women are Frances Roth and Katharine Angell, two powerhouse women who founded a school in New Haven, Connecticut that over the years would grow to become one of the best culinary schools in the nation.

Frances Roth was born in April of 1896. When she was 17, she attended law school at New York University. In 1925, Roth became the first female to pass the bar exam and be admitted to the Connecticut Bar Association. From 1925 to 1941 Frances served as the Assistant City Attorney in New Haven. In 1944, Roth’s daughter Norma also passed the bar exam, making them the first mother- daughter members of the Connecticut Bar Association. I had the opportunity to interview Nicole Semenchuk, the Archives and Digital Collections Specialist at the Hyde Park Campus. Semenchuk said, “She had everything going against her.  She was a single mother after her divorce, and just the time period she lived in was harder for her accomplish things with the way women were viewed at the time… she was very smart and capable.” In 1945, the New Haven Restaurant Association sought out Frances Roth to head up a culinary school in New Haven, and Roth accepted.

Katharine Angell was born in 1890 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from Queens College in Charlette and from 1910 to 1911 she attended Finch School in New York City. Katharine had six children with her first husband Paul Woodman who died in 1930. Katharine married James Rowland Angell, the president of Yale, in 1932. Semenchuk describes Angell as, “the social outgoing, funny hostess, who was more so the fundraiser for the school and was a huge part of the community.” In 1946 her and Frances Roth founded the New Haven Culinary Institute, which would become the Culinary Institute of America.

Frances Roth served as administrative director from 1946 to 1966. Semenchuk said that the role of administrative director is similar to the role of president. Angell served on the Board of Trustees as president and chairman from 1946 to 1966. Roth and Angell worked hard to make their culinary school run effectively and provide returning war veterans the proper skill set to get a job in the restaurant industry. Angell created the school’s first financial aid program, as well as helped start a culinary reference library for the students of the New Haven Culinary Institute. Due to the heavy promotion of the school from Angell and Roth and the concurrent attention the school recieved, the name of the New Haven Culinary Institute was soon changed to the Culinary Institute of America.  The school gained many students; only five years both women retired, the school moved its location to the current Hyde Park campus.

Katharine Angell described the goal of the CIA as, “to train young men and women to become expert cooks and chefs.” What many people do not realize is that our school had female students from the day it started. Nicole Semenchuk said, “There was at least one woman in every class, and there were two classes a year. The program was different back then; the program was nine months to a year.” There have always been women students at the CIA, even though women were outnumbered by men, since the school was founded to help returning World War II veterans attain stable jobs. Semenchuk also pointed out that there were female teachers at the CIA from the beginning too, except they taught academic classes like nutrition while there were only male chefs teaching cooking classes. Even Frances Roth would teach some academic classes that dealt with law.

Katharine Angell and Frances Roth were two powerhouse women who didn’t know at the time that the school they founded would completely change the restaurant industry. Over time, a baking program was started, and with all the attention the school received for providing such well-trained students, the restaurant industry was looked on with more prestige than before. Semenchuk described the work Roth and Angell did as, “leaving a culinary foot print.”

It is amazing to think of how far our school has come since its founding in 1946. We went from having once campus with one female per start date, to having four campuses and 16 different start dates at our Hyde Park Campus, For the first time, we have more  female students enrolled than males.  Our school has come a long way since its founding, but it would not be what it is today without the hard work and dedication of Frances Roth and Katharine Angell.

 

 

                                     

West Coast Living at Greystone

CIA in California

BY: Mike Feist, BBA Food Business Management

Some people get lucky. If you can find a way to live somewhere unique for a year or two, don’t say no. I decided to spend my two AOS years out at Greystone, in California’s Napa Valley.

The California CIA campus is in northern California, about 60 miles from San Francisco. There are enormous mountains, deserts, volcanoes and hot springs, vast tundras, and awesome beaches all over the state. And being outdoors is perfect almost anytime and anywhere: most areas never drop below forty degrees, it never gets humid, mosquitoes are very rare, and it hardly even rains. Most days year-round are sunny and stay around 70 degrees. I found opportunities to go backpacking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, snow caving, and skiing, and I could camp out under a single tarp most nights without a problem.

The town of St. Helena (officially a city, though a tiny one) hosts two other small college campuses. It has a small permanent population and relies almost entirely on tourism. You can find excellent high-end restaurants, boutiques, and gourmet shops like Woodhouse Chocolates. Their boxed chocolates have been rated the best in the US, according to Consumer Reports. St. Helena is also a town away from the French Laundry and near famous wineries like Robert Mondavi’s, Peter Mondavi’s Charles Krug, Stag’s Leap, Francis Ford Coppola’s, and Opus One. The area draws millions of tourists from far away for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel. So if you love food, wine, or desserts, you’ll be in heaven, but there are fewer attractions that concern art, history, or science. It’s not like New York where you can find three museums on the same block. People in the Napa Valley are looking more to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and have a good time.

In St. Helena, it’s hard to find cheap food, and it’s hard to find things to do without spending a lot of money. So my friends and I, broke college students, had little to do there. My friends and I still have nothing to do in Hyde Park, but instead because we’re in the middle of nowhere. San Francisco and Sacramento are very far away from the California campus, and they surprisingly don’t offer as much as I initially thought. However, find a way to visit San Jose, Palo Alto, and Berkeley; there’s so much more there, and you’d definitely not regret going up to Portland and Seattle either. Public transportation can be tricky. It’s not nearly as convenient as Metro-North or the New York City subway, but it is much easier than the public transit in Dutchess.

Greystone’s campus is very small. It’s mostly all within one building, which is about ¾ the size of Roth Hall by square footage. Greystone’s unique in that on the top floor there’s the hot side and the cold side, separated by our only cafeteria. So there’s only one bakeshop (the cold side) and one main kitchen for culinary arts. There’s another kitchen on the first floor for use by one or two classes at a time, but the main one gets the bulk of the school’s use, and up four to five classes or groups can use that space at once. And I should mention it was designed fully open – no walls between the three sections – so you can see from the end of the bakeshop to the end of the kitchen, and glass walls that continue behind the kitchen allow you to see two-thirds of the building’s top floor from any spot.

Another potentially big difference is with carts and reqs. I’m not sure how the requisition system works in Roth Hall, but at Greystone we had to go to a corner of the building every day, check over every item if Purchasing had pre-assembled our cart, or help build our own if they were behind. We’d have to wheel it across back passages through the entire building, unless the elevator didn’t work (which was often). In that case we’d have to wheel all the food across the entrance hall of the building. Luckily it was usually early in the morning, so we didn’t have to find a way past the tourist crowds that show up later in the day. There also was never a specific place designated for carts and speed racks, you sometimes had to search the entire building to find one. Dealing with these problems every day helped us learn to adapt quickly in future situations.

Greystone also only has one restaurant for AOS students. Your schedule is therefore even more fixed than AOS students have it over here, but luckily our restaurant was a lot of fun. It was called the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, a mouthful when trying to greet guests over the phone or at the door. Yet the front- and back-of-house instructors were probably the most helpful and nicest of all that I had. The food we served was delicious, and I was just as proud to cook it as I was to serve it. Our wines were fantastic, as were the cocktails. The whole system was the cleanest and one of the best-organized restaurants I’ve worked in, even though we started out with little front-of-house experience. By the end, we were all part of a fantastic machine we were proud of. Among the random things that I heard Hyde Park kids do differently in the restaurants and out are: not flipping cutting boards for new tasks (oops), actually peeling celery and asparagus, and washing pots and pans by hand! I was sad when I found out that with Greystone’s new satellite campus, the restaurant is being removed. AOS students will now use the restaurant formerly run by the BPS Farm to Table semester-away students, now called the Gatehouse Restaurant.

As I was leaving Greystone last spring, the CIA had bought and was renovating Copia, formerly a huge nonprofit museum entirely dedicated to food, wine, and all forms of culinary arts. I so wish I was around to see this enormous facility in its prime – complete with art, history, and science exhibits, massive theaters, demo kitchens, a rare book library, wine tasting rooms, and a cafe and restaurant. As a lover of food, wine, and culture, I would’ve spent all my time there. I managed to visit the empty space a few times, at first without even knowing it! Like most other Greystone students, I thought “what’s Copia?” when I first heard of the school’s purchase. I had been to the nearby food hall and farmers’ market, literally feet away from the building, and didn’t even know about Copia. A while later, I familiarized myself with the whole building, including its gardens and shaded paths, the reflecting ponds, and beautifully modern architecture. I’m looking forward to going back now that its long-empty halls are finally full.

As I was beginning my AOS, I realized Greystone is a bit more like an institution, not a university. So if you’re an older or a more mature student, it may be a good choice. You may even prefer it – come in, take serious classes, and leave. Clubs are few in number and disorganized, given Greystone’s lack of a four-year program. School trips and events are less common with a smaller student body, and there’s no on-campus gym, pool, or club rooms. The library is maybe half the size of the gift shop here and permanently shares its space with the learning strategies center. And because the campus’ only cafeteria requires business casual or chef whites and doesn’t include comfortable chairs or places for laptops, it lacks a university dining hall’s convenience and charm. There’s still a community feel to the campus because of its small size. My classmates and I felt Greystone was like a family.

I hope that the above ideas will help you and inspire you, whether you’re considering vacationing in the Napa Valley or spending a semester at our Napa Valley campus. Trust me,  you’ll be glad you did!

Nicholas Elmi

photo courtesy of Leslie Jennings

AOS Graduation speaker

March 3, 2017

Nicholas Elmi

by Shelly Loveland, Staff Contributor

Chef/Owner Restaurant Laurel and ITV

Nicholas Elmi is the chef/owner of Restaurant Laurel and ITV (In the Valley) Wine and Cocktail Bar in Philadelphia, PA. Chef Elmi and the staff of Laurel focus on French-inspired American cuisine with a nod to regional tradition and contemporary flavors. A 22-seat gem that delights critics and neighbors alike, Laurel is located on a small street in South Philly known as East Passyunk Avenue, named one of the “Ten Best Foodie Streets in America” by Food & Wine. ITV, located right next door, reflects Restaurant Laurel’s intimate vibe. Chef Elmi’s latest concept is Baba Bar, a Mediterranean bar and grill that will be located in Terminal B in Philadelphia International Airport.

Since opening in November 2013, Laurel has garnered national attention in a short amount of time. It has consistently been named near or at the top of Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants and also earned a spot on GQ’s 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015. Laurel was also awarded four bells (the highest rating possible) from award-winning critic Craig Laban of The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as three and a half stars from Trey Popp of Philadelphia. The James Beard Foundation named Laurel a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2014 and Chef Elmi a semi-finalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2017 and 2015.

A native of West Newbury, MA, Nicholas Elmi is a 2002 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Before opening Laurel, he worked in some of the top restaurants on the East Coast and the world, including Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, Union Pacific and Oceana in New York City, and Guy Savoy in Paris, France. In 2013, Chef Elmi won season 11 of Bravo’s Top Chef, beating out 18 competitors for the top spot.

Active in the industry and community, Chef Elmi has served as a guest chef at the James Beard House, was a guest instructor at DeGustibus at Macy’s in New York City, and participated in the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival in 2015 and the New York City Wine & Food Festival in 2016. He also appeared with Chef Carla Hall in a webisode for students by Scholastic called “Math@Work: Math Meets Culinary Arts,” designed to connect classroom learning to careers. Chef Elmi is a supporter of many worthy organizations, including the March of Dimes, The Parkinson Council, and the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

 

GRaduation Photos

 

Michael McGrath

photo courtesy of Leslie Jennings

Aos Graduation Speaker

February 10, 2017

Michael McGrath

Chief Executive Officer: Newman’s Own

by Shelly Loveland, Staff Contributor

Michael McGrath is the chief executive officer (CEO) for Newman’s Own, Inc. In this position, he is responsible for managing the food and beverage company’s business in the United States and internationally, as well as leading new product development and market expansion. Mr. McGrath also serves as a member of the Newman’s Own, Inc. Board of Directors.

There are currently more than 300 items in the Newman’s Own product line of great-tasting, high-quality, and organic foods, including salad dressings, pasta sauces, frozen pizza, salsa, frozen skillet meals, refrigerated lemonades, cookies, snacks, and pet food. Each contributes to fulfilling the company’s “100% of Profits to Charity” commitment through the Newman’s Own Foundation.

In collaboration with 30-year Newman’s Own partner LiDestri Foods, Mr. McGrath recently introduced a new line of organic pasta sauces to consumers under the name Common Good. The two CEOs—Giovanni LiDestri and Mike McGrath—selected a specific tomato varietal in a taste test, LiDestri Foods commissioned a California farmer to grow it, and just one year after the idea was conceived, finished jars were arriving at grocery stores.

Mr. McGrath began his work with Newman’s Own as an outside consultant on business issues. He subsequently joined the Newman’s Own team in 2013, when he was hired to manage the intellectual properties and licenses for the food and beverage business. In 2014, Mr. McGrath was named CEO. His more than 35 years in the food and beverage business also includes a successful career in the consumer packaged food business, where he was president and CEO of Weight Watchers and, most recently, the founder and CEO of Wolfgang Puck Soups, which he sold to the Campbell Soup Company.

Michael McGrath was a personal friend of actor and Newman’s Own co-founder Paul Newman. He is a longtime supporter of charitable causes, most notably the SeriousFun Children’s Network, where he serves on the Advisory Board, and its member camps, such as Barretstown in Ireland (where he has served on the Board of Directors) and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT. 

Mr. McGrath earned a bachelor of science in business administration and accounting from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT and a master’s in business administration from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

 

Graduation Photos