Cody Fitchett: CIA is ‘Harvard’ of all culinary schools

Cody Fitchett

Cody Fitchett

Good morning everyone in the Shenandoah Valley. I write this week’s column in the winter wonderland we call Hyde Park.

Last week it was in the negative numbers when I would wake up to take my shower and get ready for class. It’s an adjustment from the weather we have back at home. Usually the weather in Virginia is sunny one day, and extreme cold the next, but up here in New York it’s just cold all of the time.

This week was the first week that we started baking. We made chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. Now I know this doesn’t seem impressive, but here at The Culinary Institute of America they teach you like you know nothing and then build you up from there.

As I write this article going into my third week here at the CIA, I think about how much I’ve changed my perspective on life and how I’ve grown up in such a brief time.

This school is called the “Harvard” of all culinary schools because that is exactly what it is. It is the best school out there for the profession that I’m entering. On Day 1 my chef, Chef Egan, told me to forget everything I have learned in the past and to take it all in and experience culinary school like a breath of fresh air.

I love it here. I love the atmosphere and the energy of this school is unbelievable. Everyone is walking around in a white chef jacket, checkered pants, and a toque or as some people say it, a chef hat.

Everyone is the same and every student has the same goal; make something of yourself in the culinary world.

Every day I learn something new I didn’t know the day before and I think that is truly the most amazing education I could ask for.

After this third week at school, I now know that this is where I’m supposed to be.

OK, time for culinary math. See you guys next week!

Cody Fitchett, of Fort Valley, is a recent graduate of Triplett Tech in Shenandoah County. He is sharing his thoughts here each week as he attends the Culinary Intitute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Email him at

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