Apparently my attempt for weekly updates was a bit too ambitious πŸ™‚

If you haven’t read my first email (shame of you! j/k) here’s a short update – I’m now at CIA in Hyde Park, New York.

Alright, let’s move on to the next installment of “life @ CIA.”

Today is the official end of the first block – 6 weeks into my culinary education. I had 2 midterms and 3 finals this week. This gives a good idea of the school lifestyle – hectic, busy, overwhelming at times and intense. After the first 6 weeks, I can tell you about the timeline and history of cuisines, identify items in the cabbage family and tell you that ambering on the grapes indicates that they are high in sugar content πŸ™‚

On Monday I start Meat Fabrication class at 6:40 AM. It’s a seven day class, about 6 hours a day of meat, meat, meat! Cuts, cooking techniques, fabrication, costing, etc. This means we’ll finally be wearing our uniforms (still white – for now at least…embroidered with our names and the school’s name). All the tools are engraved with the CIA’s logo – just in case we forget where we are πŸ™‚

After the Meat Fabrication class, we will move on to the Fish Fabrication class – similar idea – 7 days, 6 hours a day of fish. Oh the aroma… πŸ™‚

“Rich” & Famous
One great benefit of being at the CIA is the access to the “Rich” & Famous of the Food Industry.

Just last month, we had a food writing panel hosted by the Gourmet Club that included Kim Severson (NY Times), Salma Abdelnour (Food & Wine), William Sertl (Gourmet), Melissa Clark (freelance, cookbooks) and Victoria von Biel (Bon Appetit). Each of them gave their take on the world of culinary writing and publishing, how to get in it and where to start. Motivated and encouraged, I submitted a story I wrote a while ago to the student newspaper “Culinary Vacations.” It actually got published πŸ™‚

A few days later, Ann Cooper (previously a chef and a restaurateur) came on campus to talk about her Healthy Lunches initiatives at public schools. She’s basically a very passionate “lunch lady” who wants to feed the children local and seasonal, fresh (unprocessed) food and to teach them how to grow fruits and vegetables and cook for themselves. No more tater tots and frozen chicken nuggets in schools!!!

Oh, and can’t forget Duff Goldman!!! Yes, the Ace of Cakes himself was here at CIA to talk about his show on Food Network, how he started his own business, his passion for cakes, etc. What a cool guy!

Side note – if you would like to see a bit of the school itself and the school atmosphere, try to catch at episode of “Dinner Impossible” on Food Network – one of the episodes was taped here on campus, in the kitchens and was first aired two weeks ago.

A few other culinary events (these happen almost weekly or a few times a week) we’ve had:
*chocolate tasting and demonstration
*wine and dessert pairing
*kosher wines and fresh matzoh (coming up this weekend)
*clam chowder cook-off (coming up this weekend)

Life “Outside” of School
– got a job as a math tutor
– applied for NY driver’s license, car registration, etc.
– found a pretty good sushi restaurant w/n 5 minutes of school
– visiting the gym quite often (don’t want to be a statistic in terms of weight gain) πŸ™‚
– not getting anywhere enough sleep
– still adjusting to the dorm life (contemplating applying for the Resident Advisor position to get my own room)

In general, time is flying by! I’m ready for the spring to finally get here (we had a foot of snow last weekend!) and it’s still pretty cold here.

Overall I’m glad I’m here. There are some really great people on campus – the student body is rather diverse, which definitely makes things more interesting and fun!

This is all for now.