Would working chefs be interested in going to the Culinary Institute of America to learn about contemporary tastes and trends if someone else would pay the freight? Who are we kidding? You can bet there’ll be high interest in claiming one of the 16 spots available for the third edition of the CIA/Hormel-sponsored Culinary Enrichment and Innovation Program (CEIP), so you’d better start filling out your application now.
The idea behind CEIP is to develop future culinary industry leaders. To that end, the program involves a quartet of intense three-day learning modules spread out over an 18-month-long period. Classes are held at various CIA locations across the country, one each at the school’s Napa Valley and San Antonio campuses and two at the school’s Hyde Park headquarters.
The four topics that will be the focus of the next CEIP sequence are:
• flavor dynamics and flavor exploration;
• contemporary approaches to health and wellness;
• leadership and innovation strategies; and
• innovative menu development for profitable operations.
Classes run on a Tuesday-Thursday schedule, with arrival expected on the Monday prior. In other words, participants won’t miss any busy weekend shifts at their foodservice operation. Hormel Foods underwrites the cost of instruction; students pay for their own travel, lodging and incidentals.
There aren’t a lot of educational programs available for midcareer chefs, let alone one of this caliber and cost. The money and time participants invest will likely pay big dividends for decades.
So how can you get in on this? Applicant registration began Sept. 1, 2012 and closes Dec. 1, 2012. Hard copies are also available. The lone hard-and-fast requirement is that applicants have five years of professional culinary experience. Other than that, it’s wide open.
Keep in mind that although this is not a writing contest, you’ll have to answer 10 open-ended essay questions when you fill out the application. Put some thought into your answers before filling out the form.
Applicants will find out if they have been chosen for this program no later than Dec. 20, 2012. From there, the class schedule reads like this:
• April 16-18, 2013, St. Helena, CA, CIA campus;
• Oct. 15-17, 2013, San Antonio, TX, CIA campus;
• Spring 2014, Hyde Park, NY, CIA campus; and
• Fall 2014, Hyde Park, NY, CIA campus
Previous CEIP participants have ranged from sous chefs at independent restaurants and casinos to executive chefs from ritzy resorts. If you can meet the five-year standard, your chance of being chosen is as good as anyone’s. Give it a try!