CIA’s Culinary Bible Turns 50

Filed under: Bites & Bits , Author: Caron Golden , November 1, 2012

The world was changing in 1962. John Glenn became the first man to orbit the Earth and return home safely. The Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do.” And The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) forever changed the culinary world with the publication of The Professional Chef®.

There had never been anything like it before. The Professional Chef was the first book dedicated to advancing the culinary profession. The 323-page text began by explaining that “knowing how to cook is only one part of the background a chef needs.” Chefs also needed to understand personnel, purchasing, nutrition, menu planning and kitchen layout. It was a guide for men—and it was almost exclusively men back then—who wanted to make a career of cooking: “Today’s chef is a business man … His knowledge and ability do not come overnight.”

Much more than a cookbook, its recipes and techniques were accompanied by sections about hygiene and sanitation, kitchen safety, tools and equipment, food cost, recipe conversions and even how to set up a buffet table. Recipes included Baked Hamburger Loaf, Chicken Cacciatore, Lobster Newburgh and molded salads—illustrated by stereotypical food photos of that era.

“We literally wrote the book about what it takes to be a professional chef,” says CIA provost and Certified Master Chef Mark Erickson. “It’s interesting to look back on how we’ve progressed in America, as a cuisine and a profession. Flipping through the successive editions of The Professional Chef is like a taking a history lesson in the rapid evolution of food in America over the past 50 years. Each was innovative in its time, and every subsequent edition has continued to be at the cutting edge of culinary innovation.”

How much have things changed in 50 years? The current ninth edition of The Professional Chef has expanded to 1,212 print pages. The searchable, interactive iPad app version includes embedded instructional videos. Both cover organics and sustainability, culinary science and the globalization of flavors. Today’s Professional Chef is also the go-to culinary resource for many more women in the profession—a full 47% of aspiring chefs enrolled at the CIA today are female. Recipes now include Korean Bibimbap, Baba Ghanoush, Paella Valenciana and Pork Vindaloo. Breakfast foods, breads and desserts now have their own sections.

What will be required of professional chefs in the next 50 years? What will food and cooking look like in 2062? “If the next 50 years are as revolutionary as the past 50 have been, it’s hard to imagine where we’ll be,” Erickson says. “However, there’s no doubt that The Culinary Institute of America and The Professional Chef will continue to lead the way and prepare chefs for the future of food.”

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Caron Golden

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Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

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