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CIA History

Happy Birthday, CIA!

The first class of the New Haven Restaurant Institute (later renamed The Culinary Institute of America) started on May 22, 1946. Founded to provide training and job opportunities in the restaurant field for returning World War II veterans, the school quickly became “the culinary center of the nation.”  The college began in a small building in New Haven, Connecticut with fifty students and three faculty.  On Founders Day, we pay tribute to those students and faculty, co-founders Frances Roth and Katharine Angell, and the vision of the New Haven Restaurant Association, all of whom made it possible for the CIA to thrive and become the world’s premier culinary college.

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During World War II, the food-service industry faced a shortage of trained chefs. After the war, many veterans returned looking for work, but few had adequate training. The New Haven Restaurant Association identified this need and, under the direction of Frances Roth and with the fundraising assistance of Katharine Angell, founded the New Haven Restaurant Institute with the goal of educating returning veterans to work in restaurants.

              

Pictured left and below: Frances Roth (1896-1971) Founder & First Administrative Director

Pictured right: Katharine Angell (1890-1983) Founder & Chairman of the Board, 1946-1966

              

“There is one person making a valiant effort to perpetuate classic cookery in this country. She is Mrs. Frances Roth, a handsome grandmother and lawyer, who until twelve years ago, had never seen the inside of the kitchen of a public dining room.”  –Craig Claiborne, New York Times (April 13, 1959)

Roth was a prominent attorney (and the first woman to pass the bar in Connecticut), she admitted her lack of kitchen knowledge in her handwritten history of the school: 

“I simply wanted to help out a few former associates and frankly I got on a merry-go-round and did not get off [illegible] for over 20 years. Remember I had never been in a commercial kitchen in my life - I knew good food - my mother was an expert in house cooking - and of course I had travelled the world and eaten in fine establishments - this was all I knew about the prep of food but many years of teaching and working with educators had given me a valuable background in the principles of good education - expert and dedicated faculty - respect for the manual worker - the right tools and facilities to work with - supervision by qualified personnel and depts of City and State.”

              

The New Haven Restaurant Institute opened in this storefront location (left) in May 1946.  The school moved to Angell Hall (right) on Prospect Street in 1947.  The building was named in honor of former president of Yale University, James Rowland Angell, husband of Katharine Angell.  The cooking school maintained a close relationship with Yale University and catered many events and provided many meals over the years. 

              

Pictured: Graduates, August 1947 

“This post-war school is unique in having achieved a 100 per cent record of placement for its graduates in high paying restaurant and hotel positions.” –Army Times, Aug. 9, 1947

Women students were always a part of the CIA.  There was one woman in the first class of students to enroll. The second class had three women students.

In 1951, the name was changed to The Culinary Institute of America to reflect the school’s national reputation.

         

Pictured: Students relaxing and working in the kitchen on the New Haven campus.

Published Resources

1946 : The Year in Menus

Bright Angel Lodge Coffee Shop, April 19, 1946

The Bright Angel Lodge was built at a time when the country’s
fascination with the western United States was growing and travel
was made easier by the development of the railroads. The first
buildings of the lodge were built on the south rim of the Grand
Canyon in 1896 before being bought by Grand Canyon Railroad in
1905. In the 1930s, owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
Railroad, the lodge was replaced with a newly-designed wood
structure that is now listed on the historic register.

Bright Angel Lodge menu

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 1946

In the late 19th century, the railroad brought new visitors to the east
coast of Florida and Henry Flagler, who pioneered the Florida
railway system, built hotels to accommodate them.  First built in
1896, the hotel suffered two destructive fires over the years in 1903
and 1925 before it was rebuilt in fireproof concrete.  These two table
d’hôte dinner menus from 1946 are typical for hotel and resort
menus in the late 19th and early 20th century. The meals would have
been inclusive with the stay and therefore do not list prices.

Breakers menu

Fred Harvey, Santa Fe Dining Car Service

The cover of this dinner menu for on board the Santa Fe Railroad
features a still of Judy Garland in the MGM musical production,
The Harvey Girls, which was released in 1946.  A chain of eating
houses along the railroads in the western United States was
developed by Fred Harvey in the late nineteenth century. Harvey's
high standards and expectations helped elevate dining in the West
and encouraged tourism.  Harvey advertised in newspapers around
the country for single, educated women to work as waitresses in his
restaurants--who became known as The Harvey Girls. They were
expected to be clean-cut and well-mannered and in exchange many
were able to live independently and travel to new parts of the country
(or even marry). History has sometimes credited them with
"civilizing" the West.

Fred Harvey menu

Les Amis d’Escoffier dinner celebrating the 100th anniversary of
the birth of Auguste Escoffier
, Held at the Waldorf-Astoria,
October 28, 1946

Les Amis d’Escoffier hosted this dinner in honor of their namesake
Escoffier’s birth in 1846. The Society, founded in 1936, regularly
hosted dinners for its members who all “appreciate good food and
good wines; men who believe in the adage Live and Let Live; men
who place sincere friendship above all else.” Notice the “Dinner
Rules” and “Warning.” Happy 170th birthday, Escoffier!

Les Amis d'Escoffier menu
Park Row, Stevens Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, July 28, 1946

“The Stevens Hotel is co-operating in the voluntary food
conservation program recommended by the President’s Famine
Emergency Committee.”

President Harry S. Truman established the President’s Famine
Committee on March 1, 1946 to aid in the fight against famine in the
world post World War II. In a radio address to the nation on April 19,
1946, Truman said, “Once again I appeal to all Americans to
sacrifice, so that others may live. Millions will surely die unless we
eat less. Again I strongly urge all Americans to save bread and to
conserve oils and fats. These are the most essential weapons at
our disposal to fight famine abroad. Every slice of bread, every
ounce of fat and oil saved by your voluntary sacrifice, will keep
starving people alive. By our combined effort, we will reduce
starvation and, with God's help, we will avert the worst plague of
famine that follows in the wake of war. I ask every American now to
pledge himself to share.”

Park Row menu cover

Park Row menu inside

Pocono Manor Inn, August 6, 1946

Rationing and convenience foods are seen on most American
menus from the 1940s, including this one from the Pocono Manor
Inn, a popular resort in the Pocono Mountains. Although the food
might have nourished but not stimulated, movies were able to serve
as an escape from real-life worries and resorts often entertained
summer guests with popular big screen films. On this night, guest
at this resort would have enjoyed Her Kind of Man, a crime film noir
about a love triangle between a nightclub singer, a gangster and a
newspaper columnist.

Pocono Manor Inn menu

San Francisco Overland Limited, 1946

The Overland Route between Chicago and San Francisco traveled
through the High Sierras and advertisements sold the trips by
touting the scenery and the fine food available on board.  A 1923
advertisement that shows a similar image of a covered wagon
proclaims, "West, the route of the explorer, Indian, pioneer, Forty-
niner, is the route of the Union Pacific, which pursues the very paths
they made to California's wonderlands. Now, on the old Overland
Trail which they blazed in privation you may travel in luxurious ease
in the splendid trains of the Union Pacific."  In contrast to travelling
by horseback or covered wagon train, this 1946 beverage list offers
up whiskey, scotch, some classic cocktails (Manhattan, Old
Fashioned, Dry Martini), sherry or port, mineral water, soda,
lemonade, Alka Selzer, and playing cards.

San Francisco Overland Limited beverage list

U.S.S. Mission Bay, July 4, 1946

The USS Mission Bay was a Navy escort carrier that served on
Atlantic anti-submarine duty during World War II. After the war, it
became part of the 16th Fleet in reserve out of Norfolk.

USS Mission Bay menu

Toffenetti Triangle Restaurant, December 4, 1946

Dario Toffenetti, an Austrian immigrant, opened his first restaurant
in Chicago in 1914.  Six more Chicago locations opened and then
his first East Coast restaurant opened in Times Square, New York
in 1940. The restaurant sat 1,000 guests and was open 24 hours a
day. The Toffenetti chain was known for its descriptive menus. This
late night menu from 1946 offers a juicy one for its ham and sweet
potatoes!

 

Arnaud’s, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 13, 1946

Arnaud’s was founded in 1918 by Frenchman Arnaud Cazenave
and served authentic Creole food in the French Quarter.  In the
1940s, the restaurant was run by Cazenave’s daughter, Germaine
Wells, who was known for her joie de vivre.  This à la carte menu
from 1946 highlights the restaurant’s signature dishes in red,
including Shrimp Arnaud, Bouillabaisse Louisianaise, Chicken
Coquille à la Reine
, Filet Mignon Orléanaise, and Crêpe Suzette
Arnaud
. Arnaud’s is still one of the most popular restaurants in New
Orleans.

 

 


The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
Telephone: 845-451-1747 | Email: library@culinary.edu