Chef's Notes Plus

Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Grill

You don’t need added fuels for cooking on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a slow cooker, of course, but fuel is necessary for grilling, barbecuing, or for spit-roasting over a flame. Some smokers and barbecue pits supply heat to the chamber using electricity or gas, with the smoke […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Give Angel Food Cake Another Try (at Home!)

Being a student at The Culinary Institute of America is an opportunity to learn more about food than you ever knew was possible. CIA students study, cook, bake, and taste, taste, taste—always tasting. With all of that tasting, you are bound to be surprised from time to time, and luckily, most […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Our Favorite Recipes for Spring Asparagus

One of the first sure signs of spring is the appearance of asparagus at the local markets. Tender, with that sweet, vegetal flavor that we all crave after a cold winter, asparagus becomes the star of any dish. And though it shines simply grilled, steamed, or roasted, we have a […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Chiles of Mexican Cuisine

Use this glossary to help identify chiles in recipes or to pick out what to try next! FRESH CHILES Anaheim (C. annuum) These light-green, rather flat-looking chiles will measure about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, gradually tapering to a blunt end; they may have squared-off or sloping shoulders, […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Chiles: The World’s Most Versatile Fruit

Chiles are actually a fruit that belong to the genus Capsicum. Most of the chiles found in Mexico belong to the Capsicum annuum species, save for the chile manzano (C. pubescens), and the chile habanero (C. chinense). Based on archeological remains we know that chiles were being consumed over seven […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Brines for Tender and Flavorful Meats

Curing meats, poultry, and fish in a salt and water solution is known as brining or wet curing. Brining provides depth in flavor, tenderness, and a moister final product. The base of a brine is salt and water, and sometimes sugar. Kosher salt is preferred because it doesn’t have any […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Chickpeas’ Secret Power: Aquafaba

A crowd favorite and hero of the plant-forward kitchen, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a versatile ingredient in sweet or savory recipes. Widely known for its high protein and fiber content, this pulse is found in many Middle Eastern and Indian recipes, including hummus, falafel, salads, pastas, and […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Troubleshooting: Powdery Film on Chocolate

You’ve had that bar of baking chocolate in the pantry for months, and maybe you’ve just grabbed it for a recipe and noticed it looks a little… off. Maybe there’s a powdery film on the surface, or the whole thing looks a little cloudy. Not quite like the creamy chocolate […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Cooking with Wine

For many of you, “cooking with wine” may mean holding a wooden spoon in one hand and a wine glass in the other. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass while you cook, I’d like to propose reserving a little for your recipes. You may ask, “Why use wine […]

Chef's Notes Plus, Family Fun

Colorful Easter Eggs, Naturally

Dying colorful Easter eggs is such a fun craft (yes, for adults, too!), but if you aren’t a fan of store-bought artificial dyes, you may have been avoiding it. But, like, everything, there’s a way to use food to make the experience better! Namely, making your own dyes from colorful […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Party-Ready Crudités

Vegetable appetizers are a perfect way to start a meal. They run the gamut from simple dips and spreads like guacamole, made from silken smooth avocados, to complex dishes that are sophisticated enough to feature at the most elegant dinner. One of the most popular vegetable appetizers, and one that […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Kitchen Tips Even the Pros Use

At the CIA, we teach future chefs the best way to slice, dice, and sauté. Just like all old (ancient!) art-forms, there are foundational techniques that everyone must learn before they can become experts. But even seasoned chefs take shortcuts, especially at home. After all, we all have different needs, […]