CIA Food Forward Forum

Culinary Cultural Exchange Brings Top Chinese Chefs and CIA Faculty Together

The Culinary Institute of America welcomes top chefs and food industry leaders from China to its Hyde Park, NY campus on Thursday, February 14.

The visit is part of an international exchange of ideas called the Food Forward Forum, with a goal of supporting greater large-scale food sustainability and healthy cooking practices.

During the visit, the Chinese chefs will learn from CIA faculty about the college’s Menus of Change® initiative, which focuses on making food systems more sustainable and meals healthier by bringing vegetables and delicious plant-based recipes to the forefront while having meat protein play more of a supporting role. Making the forum true exchange, CIA chefs will also learn Chinese culinary techniques from the visiting delegation.

“This is an opportunity for our faculty members to broaden their horizons by both teaching and learning from colleagues from another culture who have a different culinary style and technique,” says Dr. Michael Sperling, CIA vice president of academic affairs. “This kind of exchange will help expose American palates to authentic, traditional Chinese cuisines, while sending our guest chefs home with methods and techniques that are both good for the environment and the dining public in China.”

CIA chefs will demonstrate the preparation of a Western-style plant-forward menu for the visitors from China. Then chefs from both nations will enjoy the meal together. Later, the Chinese chefs will provide a cooking demonstration for their American counterparts.

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The CIA visit is part of a two-week tour by select Chinese culinary leaders to several universities in the Northeast. The chefs began at Yale University, whose foodservice operations are managed by CIA graduate Rafi Taherian. The CIA is the final collegiate stop, after visits to the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, and the University of Connecticut. The tour ends on February 15 with a visit to Google’s New York foodservice operations.

To be part of the Food Forward Forum tour, the Chinese chefs had to design versions of traditional Lunar New Year dishes that were at least 85 percent plant-based.

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