Thursday, September 1, 2011

CIA Open House

Yup, my mind is made up. I want to attend the CIA.

Roth Hall

For those not in the know, I attended an open house at the Culinary Institute of America on Tuesday that was specifically aimed at career changers, college grads, and in general, us older types.

As I have stated, I have been to an open house before – but I was so star-struck that I did not grasp a lot of what was being said. This time was (somewhat) different. Still star-struck, but this time I was able to focus enough to get some questions answered…
Roth Hall, from Anton Plaza
The event started with a video presentation about the college, and then we were walked through some Powerpoint slides covering the history of the school, the application process, financial aid options, and a general overview of the school.

I love that new sessions start every three weeks at the Culinary. Unlike a typical college, where classes start only at the end of the semester, every three weeks 18 Baking and Pastry students and 78 Culinary Arts students begin their program at the Culinary.

I am not sure if I want to take just the 21-month Associates program, or if I want the more in-depth Bachelors degree, which is another 17 months after the Associates program. Part of me says just get the two-year degree, but knowing me, “the more knowledge, the more attractive it is.”

Money was a scare, though. For the 2011-2012 school year, they estimated a student would spend around $44,600 per semester. Something about taking a loan for $90k that scares me… obviously, I need to look at scholarships and financial aid contributions a bit more.

Bright and sunny on Anton Plaza

After the talking portions, a special guest came out to give his account of attending the Culinary. Jonathan Dixon, Class of 2010 and author of “Beaten, Seared and Sauced”, talked for about fifteen minutes or so, and then answered questions for a bit longer. Everyone was given a copy of his book upon checking in, and Jonathan was kind enough to sign each book. I have already read his book, so getting it signed may have meant more to me than others – at least, I like to think so. Here’s my review.

We were all separated into smaller groups for the campus tour next. Our guide, Michael, was a wealth of knowledge, especially for someone who has only been there for a year. Michael, who hails from California and just returned from his Externship, showed us most of the campus, filling us in on some of the finer (and unpublished) details of life on campus, all while answering our relentless questions – oh, and all of this was done while walking backwards… in slip-on shoes. Class act, Michael!

My favorite building - the Colavita Center

The tour ended back at the Admissions Building, where we were served some desserts and watched a quick cooking demo by a recent graduate, Katelyn, who now works for the Admissions Office. She made us Fruity Frozen Yogurt (recipe is below). She also answered questions about dorm life, living on campus versus off campus, and the life of a student.

After the demo, we were released to go home. I stayed to speak to an Admissions Officer, but felt a little rushed as I knew it would be a long, cold ride home on the bike. But I got all my questions answered, save one. Pretty impressive, considering I still had stars in my eyes!

Dusk on Anton Plaza

And then began the long, cold trek back home. Maybe riding the bike wasn’t such a good idea, considering it was nearly 1am and 50 degrees out when I got home. Oh well, it was more fun (and cheaper…) this way!

And now to work on getting that six months of experience…

Fruity Frozen Yogurt
3 ½ cups frozen fruit (about 16 ounces)
½ cup sugar, preferably superfine
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Combine fruit and sugar in food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Combine yogurt and lemon juice in a measuring cup; with the machine on, gradually pour the mixture through the feed tube.
3. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides once or twice. Serve immediately.

Note: She did say that any citrus juice could be used, instead of the lemon juice. Our dessert was strawberry with orange juice. She said blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries make good flavors, too. Yogurt flavor can change to suit your fruit selection, as well.