As appearing in the CIA student newspaper, La Papillote. Article by Scott Schetselaar, AOS Culinary.
Since its inception in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America has been a place where great culinary minds could come together and pioneer innovation for our industry, and now it can continue that tradition with the construction of the Marriott Pavilion, at its Hyde Park campus.
The 42,000 square foot facility is scheduled to be completed by the late fall of 2013 and will house an 800 seat theater, and also a flexible-wall conference area, modeled after the Greystone Campus’ Ventura Center, on the ground floor.
Students and faculty are excited that they will no longer have to push larger graduations into the Student Recreation Center, or off campus and onto other venues like the Poughkeepsie Civic Center. With the new Marriott Pavilion, the institute will have the ability to host not only a larger audience, but will also have room on the new stage for approximately 200 people.
Alyson Tabb, a 7th term Bachelor’s Degree student in Baking and Pastry Arts said, “I look forward to seeing more pastry chefs,” and that, “It will be nice to expand [the school’s] capabilities.” Margo Carey, also a 7th term Bachelor’s Degree student in Baking and Pastry Arts said, “It will be nice to have a place on campus that is nicer than the [Student Recreation] Center or having to drive off-campus [for graduation].”
Another student, Shannon Haggerty, a 6th term Bachelor’s Degree student in Culinary Science is excited to see guest speakers in the new facility, “I’m excited to have a place where I feel like it will be easier to see what is being demonstrated,” said Haggerty. She added, “I feel like this will be a way for [chef’s] to feel like their welcomed and appreciated more so than the Student [Recreation] Center.”
Chef Instructor Fred Brash said, “The benefit of the theater is that we will be able to bring both national and international speakers here, where we couldn’t bring them before, and we will have people from all over the world coming to see those lectures…It will be a positive thing.” Many members of the faculty are also excited that the school will now be able to offer Industry Leadership conferences. The availability of this facility will allow us to become a “Carnegie Hall for Food,” said Provost Mark Erickson.
One event the building will be able to host is the Menus for Change conference which had previously been held in Cambridge, Mass. Other examples include the Greystone Campus’ Worlds of Flavor conference and the San Antonio Campus’ Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference; with the addition of the Marriot Pavilion, Erickson says we will be able to “Carve out our own signature,” here at Hyde Park.
Marketing Director Stephen Hengst commented that, “This will allow the CIA to grow, pioneer new research, and continue to share that research in a place where we are only an hour and a half from the largest media market in the world, New York City.” Hengst also mentioned that following the completion of the Marriott pavilion plans exist to renovate Heinz plaza to feature edible gardens. Chef Brash later expanded on this by saying that it is possible the gardens will be featuring roots and herbs to be used in the school’s restaurants.
The projected cost of the facility is $19 million, however many of the school’s partners have come together to help fund its new endeavor. The J. Willard and Alice Marriott Foundation has pledged $5 million towards the building’s construction. The Marriott foundation has been a supporter of The Culinary Institute of America for almost fifty years, and was helpful with the school’s original move from New Haven, CT. EcoLab, a company dedicated to providing sanitation technology to the food and beverage industry helped with a $1.5 million dollar pledge. $3.4 million in federal funds was also approved by the Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance with the help of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). Senator Schumer’s press release further revealed that the Senator and the Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance are supporting the facility’s role in bolstering the relationship between Hudson Valley farmers and bigger corporations such as Pepsi, Heineken, and Dannon. Also, $1.25 million was secured for the project by NY State Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C Poughkeepsie) from the state’s budget for state-of-the-art technology.
The resounding theme of students and faculty is one of excitement and anticipation. Deirdre Rieutort-Louis, in his 1st term of his Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts said, “I’m really looking forward to seeing the result of it and how it will turn out.”
Mike Nothnagel, Professor of Mathematics looks forward to seeing the artwork in the building and said, “It will be good, in general, that we can get more people to see the events that we have.”
And Autumn Schofield, 1st term Associate Degree student for Baking and Pastry Arts said, “I’m really excited about it and I think it will give the student body more opportunities to participate in events.” Now it’s just a matter of time before those events start taking place, and giving us greater insight into all the possibility that is here at the CIA.