Chef's Blog

Pasta Crock: The Louder, the Better

A baked red-sauce and cheese pasta dish with a thick crunch and béchamel sauce. Typical kid foods are composed of simple and delicious flavors, which is why I think you might be fibbing if you said there wasn’t something off the kid’s menu that you occasionally crave. Mine is Pasta […]

Chef's Blog

Healthy Cooking with Picky Eaters, from a CIA Chef

Food preference may feel instinctual, but like everything our kids learn, it all begins with education, and participation is an integral part of the learning process. I started a tradition with my children to help spur their curiosity around healthy foods. Every Wednesday after school, we make a trip to […]

Chef's Blog

A Very Good Place to Start: My Fundamentals Experience

As I began my journey at CIA, I was obviously quite eager to start my Baking and Pastry Fundamentals class. This is the course that is the basis for all bakeshop classes at the CIA—the real meat and potatoes of culinary school. Culinary-track students take their own Culinary Fundamentals class, […]

Chef's Blog

The Buzz on the CIA’s Bees

To an observer it must have looked like some bizarre heist movie. Here’s the scene: It was a warm night in late April. Ruined pillars from some forgotten structure loomed above the Hudson River. Flowers covered the apple trees nearby. A car approached, the headlights flashing, only to turn off […]

Chef's Blog

Becoming a Chef: The Pivot Point

One of my biggest inspirations in the culinary field is chef Alex Guarnaschelli. As a little girl growing up, I did not really see a lot of female chefs on tv, besides Rachael Ray. Watching Alex on Iron Chef really inspired me to go into the culinary field. Then a […]

Chef's Blog

Melina Hammer: Nature, Nurture, Nourishment

Like many of us, Melina Hammer came to New York City, blinded by the city of dreams’ lights, energy, and glamour. The former metal smith went to the city and carved out a place for herself in the publishing industry with grit and determination. When digital media was accelerating the […]

Chef's Blog

When Chefs Write

Grading student journals and project assignments isn’t a favorite pastime, but if you are the adjunct instructor of College Writing at The Culinary Institute of America, ya gotta. More correctly stated, I gotta. The semester usually starts with the same complaints: You want me to read HOW MANY PAGES? I […]

Chef's Blog

A Taste of Slovenia, a True Foodie Destination

Any country that is shaped like a running chicken must be a great destination for food enthusiasts. Slovenia, with a rich and complicated past—often in the shadow of powerful empires—along with its dramatically varied geography and climatic patterns, makes it a great study for food historians. My area of research […]

Chef's Blog

Spring Plant Foraging for Beginners

An herbalist friend of mine once told me that most people experience the natural world as a “wall of green.” It’s pretty, there are lots of different shades and textures, it makes us feel good, and we can appreciate our experience within it. But it is not until we start […]

Chef's Blog

The Chinese Pantry

It’s a fact that Americans love eating Chinese food. There are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S.; there are more Chinese restaurants than McDonald’s. You can probably name a favorite Chinese restaurant and a dish or two you love. It is also a fact that many cooks feel intimidated […]

Chef's Blog

In Defense of Spam

Early in the semester, CIA students in my Food Writing course read “On Chicken Tenders,” by Helen Rosner, published in 2015 in Guernica. In this amusing but sincere defense of a derided, children’s menu staple, Rosner effectively argues against those who look down on ordering, eating, and celebrating the “perfect” […]