2000s Archive

Cooking Schools: The Culinary Institute of America

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Picasso, they say, could have painted like Ingres, had he wanted to. Thanks to boot camp, I can now pipe out flawless duchesse potatoes and whip up a perfect beurre blanc. At least I like to think I can. But that just isn’t my kind of food. I have acquired discipline and certain basic skills to get me, if not through life, then at least around the kitchen. I will go on to make fabulous Italian food, mouthwatering chicken tikka, flaky little empanadas. And, in time, decent spaetzle. (845-452-9600; ciachef.edu; $2,095 for five days, including all meals)

What I Learned

When sautéing, turn chicken, fish, or meat only once. Otherwise, you’re just reheating, not cooking.

Biggest Surprise

Training people for the food industry is not unlike turning out airline pilots or accountants. It’s about imparting skills; the talent is up to you.

Before You Go

Don’t purchase the CIA’s $425 knife kit, which contains only three blades (all of which are abundantly available in class) and lots of stuff you already have (whisk, wooden spoon, meat thermometer, etc.).

Where to Stay

Journey Inn Bed & Breakfast (845-229-8972; journeyinn.com; from $130). After a long day of classes that start promptly at 7 A.M., returning to this welcoming guesthouse, right across from the Vanderbilt Mansion, is a wonderful comfort indeed.


Chicken Breasts Provençal

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