Culinary Institute of America

About this Project

The end of World War II brought many soldiers back home.  But they didn’t return to a prosperous America and many jobs created by the war disappeared.  To help veterans obtain an education that would lead to better employment opportunities, the GI Bill was created.  The New Haven Restaurant Institute, organized by the New Haven Restaurant Association in 1946, was just one of those opportunities offering a new vocation. 

Culinary Institute of America

The first graduating class of the New Haven Restaurant Institute, in New Haven CT, had 50 students. By 1969 the school had changed its name to the Culinary Institute of America and had grown to 1000 students. The campus was moved to its current location in Hyde Park, NY.

The Epicurean Room opened in 1973 and was the first of many restaurants hosted on campus. It had a three-star rating from the New York Times and four stars in the Mobile Travel Guide. And, in 1978, Anthony Bourdain, famous celebrity chef, was a graduate.

Through the 70s and 80s, the institute continued to expand adding residence halls, the General Nutrition Center (with the St. Andrews Cafe), and the Takaki School of Baking. A pastry building, which held bake shops, pastry shops, kitchens, and lecture halls was also constructed.

Culinary Institute of America

In 1993 the Danny Kaye theater opened and a library was added with a $1.5 million grant from the Conrad N Hilton Foundation. And in 1998, a 55,000 square foot student recreation center was added. The school also expanded beyond New York adding locations in California and Singapore.

In 2014, a $25 million expansion of the student recreation center almost doubled the size of the previous building. Now over 100,000 square feet, the rec center features a variety of dining options within the centerpiece, called the “Egg.” Menus for the cafe, pastry shop, and pop-up restaurant are all developed in the Culinary Institute of America kitchens. A microbrewery was also included in the expansion, adding an educational outpost for the Brooklyn Brewery.

Lighting for the expanded facility has been enhanced with the addition of 8 large pyramid-shaped skylights which provide natural light during the day. Additionally, matching pyramids were added to two of the main entrance canopies. Each of the pyramids manufactured by Crystal Structures measures approximately 12’ x 12’ at the base of the pyramid frame. Pyramid-shaped skylights are among the most commonly requested although many other custom designs are available. Find out more about our skylights here.