As the world’s premier culinary college, The Culinary Institute of America has a proven track record of preparing the future leaders of the food industry for careers in, and beyond, the kitchen. As career options within the food industry expanded over the past 75 years, so did the CIA’s curriculum.
“Food touches every facet of our lives. And with a world that is more connected by food than ever, we are excited about the future,” says CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “ Today’s CIA students will be the leaders who solve some of the biggest challenges our industry is facing, and it’s our job to prepare them to do that work.”
The first lesson students learn at the CIA is “mise en place” (everything in its place)—which is a philosophy that Dr. Ryan says not only sets students up for success in the kitchen, but in every area of their life. “The critical thinking skills our students learn from the moment they get here, will serve them for years to come,” he says.
Aside from culinary arts and baking & pastry arts degrees, the CIA offers bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management, food business management, culinary science, and applied food studies, along with master’s degrees in food business management, wine & beverage management, and the new sustainable food systems master’s launching next Fall, so that students and graduates have ongoing educational opportunities no matter where they are in their careers. The variety of degree programs offered at the CIA also gives students options beyond the kitchen, in fields such as food policy, sustainability, health and wellness, R&D, travel & tourism and more. There are also externships and other opportunities for hands-on learning and training, and master’s programs that are primarily distance-learning-based, so candidates can earn their degree without putting their lives and careers on hold.
The CIA has long valued sustainability and food ethics and health and wellness. Longstanding industry initiatives, like Menus of Change and Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives—presented in collaboration with Harvard’s T.H. School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition—continue to educate chefs and foodservice operators, as well as doctors and others outside the industry about the impact of healthy cooking and culinary nutrition. The Applied Food Studies major and Farm-to-Table concentration educate students on how chefs can play a bigger role in championing sustainability in their communities. And, the new sustainable food systems master’s program will prepare leaders to transform our food systems, from the grassroots to the global level.
“Chefs have an incredible responsibility—not just in providing nourishment and enjoyment—but also in raising awareness and educating their communities about where food comes from; about the role of food choices in our health and that of our planet; in encouraging businesses to be better stewards of the environment; and in changing kitchen culture to be more positive and inclusive,” says Dr. Ryan. “Our students continue to have an important role in shaping the future of our industry.”
To set students up for the future, the CIA hosts multi-day career fairs several times per academic year. The most recent career fair, which was held in early November, brought in more than 115 companies and 220 recruiters from all areas of the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. Students had the opportunity to network with top restaurant groups, travel properties, and food product companies and conduct interviews for both externships and full-time jobs.
“CIA alumni have been critical to making the industry what it is today,” said Dr. Ryan. “And as we look ahead to the next 75 years, with not just our industry but our entire food system at a turning point, there has never been more opportunity for CIA graduates.”
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