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Mar 27, 2008 10:48 AM

Cooking school at the CIA

after graduating im planning on going to the culinary institute of america in hyde park and i was hoping ot get some information on the school like how hard it was to get in, how intense was the course , how helpful is their curriculum when used in the real world and other questions that might be helpful. im planning on going for my bachelors so any information would be extremly helpful so if anyone from that school could help me with my questions it would be very appreciated. thank you =D.

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  1. I am not an alum but I have had several CIA graduates work for me that were not worth the powder to blow them selves up. I've also worked for several graduates that achieved levels that I will never reach. What does this mean? IMO you get out of any program exactly what you put into it. Spend your nights trying to get lucky and drinking instead of applying your self then don't expect to gain as much as those who work hard. If you are set on Culinary school I would beg, borrow or steal to go to the CIA instead of any CC program. The CIA simply can open doors that few others can. Their admission requirments and application info is easilly found on their web site.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Docsknotinn

      >>... but I have had several CIA graduates work for me that were not worth the powder to blow themselves up<<


    2. If you are seriously interested in the CIA, a good first exposure would be to get Michael Ruhlman's book, "The Making of a Chef," which is an account of his year training at the school. Besides stories and anecdotes about his experiences, this and his succeeding books discuss cooking as art vs. craft and the value of the academic training compared with less costly trade schools or experience working on kitchen lines.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        wow thanks ill definatly pick it up as my next book.

        1. re: nosh

          Agreed. This book cured me of any delusion I had that maybe I should have gone to culinary school instead of law school. :-) I am now convinced that, for me, cooking should remain a hobby and not a profession.

        2. Hi! I attended the CIA and graduated almost 10 years ago. The curriculum now is different from what it was back then, but I agree with Docsknotinn that you get out what you put in. I was older when I attended -- 29 -- and it was a career change for me. However, I actually worked in a restaurant before applying, basically working my "real" job full time along with 30-40 hours a week at the restaurant. I figured if I loved the cooking that much, despite so little sleep, that culinary school was the way to go.

          Getting in was a cinch for me and I think a cinch for others, given the "quality" of my classmates. Of all the students I graduated with, I would only hire 3. Most of the other students were either very young and came to class hung over and really had no clue what was going on, others were career changers who thought cooking was glamourous and still others, for some reason or another, just did not get it. I did not find it difficult and throughout the entire time, worked part-time -- even during "Breakfast Cookery" when we had to be in class by 3am.

          Despite some less than desireable classmates, however, if you are good, it is your chance to shine while you are there. I had the opportunity to work with some great chefs and to work on some wonderful projects. And even before I graduated, I had job offers in NYC.

          I tell everyone who has thoughts about culinary school to work in a restaurant first -- even if you have to do it without pay. Otherwise, culinary school (wherever you go) is a waste of money.

          Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Vshu

            Solid advise! I believe the CIA now requires six months of in field experience for admission or some thing along those lines.

            1. re: Docsknotinn

              wow thanks for the info im really serious about going there but i still need my 6 months i worked part time at this catering/restaurant place for aobut two months and it was hard work but at the end of the day it had a rewarding feeling.but now im looking for a job at a place with line cooks.