Monday Miam-Miam: When Students Feed You

We had toured the gorgeous campus of The Culinary Institute of America located in Hyde Park, NY once in 2013. Not that any of our kids was planning to enter the hospitality industry, but we knew that we could eat food cooked and served by students there. Anthony Bourdain, Michael Mina, Bocuse’s son, and several hosts of popular TV cooking shows, to name only a few, are alumni of the prestigious school.

This fountain faces the Hudson River

It was graduation week and the flag was gorgeously hung across the impressive facade

On Friday, I will tell you more about the story behind the story.

Our schedule that summer didn’t work out and we were only able to eat an early morning pastry at the Apple Pie Bakery Café before hitting the road. This yummy experience, however, convinced us to come back for dinner.

 

Great spot for breakfast for here or to go

We did return twice to the CIA with and without kids, still over a cross-country trip, and absolutely loved the casual and friendly pasta night at the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici. Students from the school took our order, served us, and more importantly talked with us about their schooling and their plans for the future. I still remember the two young women who waited on us that night and how professional and yet spontaneous they were. It was fantastic to read such enthusiasm through their work and conversation. All had set up specific plans in the hospitality industry right after graduation.

I wouldn’t stop eating if I studied there

Wine Spectator classroom

The hallway leading to classrooms

A clean kitchen after a teaching day

An amphitheater unlike any other

We ate again at the CIA last fall while Hurricane Matthew battered part of the East coast. That night felt like a hug within the solid walls of the buildings and the warmth of the food, still served by students on the verge to graduate. Instead of the Italian restaurant we chose American Bounty, which focuses on local and seasonal food. Our experience was once more a total success.

 

So earlier this summer we returned again. Sans kids.

As much as I had wished to eat at the recently opened Bocuse, named after the legendary French chef, in 2013, I no longer starve typical French cuisine when away from France and favor the limitless creativity of the American chefs who go for local and seasonal. So this is at the American Bounty Restaurant that we ate again.

Students come and go, but the work ethic, food the quality and warm atmosphere remain when a college dedicates its purpose to the guests’ enjoyment.

This summer we particularly enjoyed hearing the students/waiters/waitresses telling us that their families were around that night, some of them in the dining room, because of graduation.

Our waiter had lined up several interviews and was looking forward to returning to his home state of Rhode Island. A strikingly efficient young woman, who set up a table next to ours with such grace that I had to compliment her, told me that she would work at a resort in the Hamptons for the summer and possibly for longer. I can totally see that happen. And more.

Our sommelier was unforgettable. He had been lucky to visit Europe and was particularly fond of France, due to the wines. I promise him a long career since he was a born storyteller and already an accomplished wine connoisseur.

California wine in New York state

What about the food?

This mini pan is adorable and the warm buns are so-o good. Some people beg their waiter to remove the pan before they eat the six buns. Are you kidding me?

His or Mine, I cannot remember who chose what

We were equally impressed, though, by the quality of the fish and the awesome presentation

You already know that I love desserts. The other day Dan Anton complimented, through a comment, my husband and me for sticking to our “one dessert with two spoons, please” policy. I must say that it is sometimes hardly possible to resist. Particularly at the American Bounty where you can watch the apprentice bakers whip chocolate ganache, check their ovens for perfectly broiled crème brûlée or still decorate with amazing delicacy cakes and tarts, right across your table.

For once, I claimed my own dessert.

 

Panacotta with nuts, ginger ice cream, and edible flowers. No comment.

His (because unlike me he’s a chocolate lover)

I love a cup of tea at night and when tea tastes as good as in London, it’s a must.

All smelled so wonderfully tea-tasty

Eating out is a pleasure for most of us. When food and décor are equally unique, it becomes a real treat. When future chefs of America feed you (even guided and supervised by their professors) and future waiters, waitresses, and sommeliers watch over you, the experience is unforgettable and also inspiring.

Nothing lifts me more than witnessing young people embracing with passion, professionalism, and grace their early working life.

No need to leave the CIA to find a bookstore. There is one, right at the entrance of the building, and also a window with gorgeous cookbooks in display, next to Bocuse restaurant. Just enough to mouthwater before dinner. And dreaming of cooking like a chef afterwards.

Someone I know wants this book really bad

Eating, yes. But no junk food, please

And a bounty of veggies

 


Comments

  1. I truly envy you dining choices! If I don’t cook it, I don’t get to eat it.

    • It’s fun to try new places. The CIA has other locations, including one in CA. But this is the original school and I don’t know if the others have as many eating options. They also have special offers which make a dinner very reasonable. Always a good thing.

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  1. […] Monday, I took you to The Culinary Institute of America, the CIA for short, located in Hyde Park, NY. I mentioned a story behind my family’s initial […]

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