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

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

Adventures in Home Winemaking

Or, How Grapes From a World-Famous Vineyard Ended Up In My Garage When I tell people my husband and I are garage winemakers, the first thing they say is, “So you have a vineyard?” Well, no. We do live in Napa, but our backyard is tiny. There wasn’t even room […]

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

It’s Easy Being Green

If you are lucky enough to spend time on our Hyde Park, New York campus, you might see the occasional green chef’s coat winding its way through campus. That could just be me, on my way to work as chef-instructor in The Menus of Change Kitchen, where our motto is, […]

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, […]

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

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

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 CIA’s New York Campus: Rich in Food and History

On normal days I meet with my students in classrooms or gardens. I’m a Professor in Applied Food Studies at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and my students are interested in sustainability and culture as well as cooking. We recreate historical recipes like Aztec amaranth cookies, […]

Chef's Blog

Three Sisters: If It Grows Together, It Goes Together

“If it grows together, it goes together.” This is the wisdom passed to me by my grandfather when we were harvesting squash, green beans, and tomatoes from his garden over 20 years ago (probably even 30 years ago, actually, but who’s counting!). He was referring to the idea that produce […]