CIA Leads Culinary Education on “Hot” Food Trends

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The National Restaurant Association recently surveyed almost 1,800 members of the American Culinary Federation, asking them what the "hot trends" will be for the coming year. Nine of the top 10 trends are in two categories: sustainability/local sourcing and healthy kids/children's nutrition. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) commends the survey results, as the college is providing thought leadership through education to the foodservice industry on these critical needs.

The CIA teaches its 2,900 undergraduates about the inextricable link between chefs and the environment through its innovative local buying program that supports more than 300,000 campus meals yearly. Hailed by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Hyde Park campus spends $750,000 a year on fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, and meat from more than two dozen Hudson Valley farms.

In CIA classes such as Meat Identification & Fabrication, much of the focus is on training future chefs to utilize all the edible portions of foodstuffs in an effort to be more sustainable. The Food, Wine, and (Agri)culture course takes CIA juniors to one of the world's renowned culinary regions to see sustainable agriculture in action. Elective courses like Food Ecology connect students with the food supply by studying sustainability as well as food production and its effect on the environment, health, nutrition, politics, and society.

Building on its classes, the CIA converted one of its public restaurants—St. Andrew's Café—into one that is almost completely locally sourced. Its new curriculum teaches students about canning and other preservation methods and helped earn the restaurant a two-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association

When it comes to healthy initiatives for the younger generation, the college has developed its own educational initiative and website dedicated to help in the battle against childhood obesity. The CIA's Menu for Healthy Kids provides recipes, facts, tips, and an online forum for school administrators, foodservice directors, chefs and restaurateurs, teachers, parents, and kids.

In addition, the CIA serves as an innovator regarding children's health and nutrition through the creation of its annual "Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids" conference at its San Antonio campus—just one of several healthy cooking confabs held by the college throughout the year, along with the Harvard School of Public Health co-sponsored "Worlds of Healthy Flavors" and "Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives" conferences. Among the presenters at the 2011 Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids conference was Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives in the Obama Administration.

The CIA's expert faculty is available to speak with the media about these trends, and about the ways in which the world's premier culinary college is taking the lead to educate people about these and many other issues. To schedule an interview with a CIA expert, please contact Jeff Levine at [email protected].

Posted by Suzanna