Stand back, Marist College! The Red Foxes’ Hogwarts-inspired dining space, which was named thirteenth on a list of North America’s best dining halls in late April 2015, can’t hold a floating candle to what’s just hatched at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
On June 29, 2015, the world-famous culinary college officially opened its brand-new student facility and recreation center, The Egg, and it’s quite eggstraordinary.
The afternoon kicked off with a lively rendition of “I’m So Excited” by members of the Half Moon Theatre — accompanied by a dancing bacon-and-egg duo. After welcoming remarks that virtually egg-hausted (sorry) every pun available, CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan finally unveiled the commons’ pièce de résistance: a giant silver orb perched at the entrance of the facility.
Once indoors, guests toured the 500-seat space: an open floor plan with mock-industrial and retro décor sectioning off various lounge and dining areas, cooking and serving stations, and even a marketplace. An elevated stage allows for live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and karaoke, while multimedia screens suspended from the ceiling project cooking shows and the like. (On-air during the opening: a rerun of the Tonight Show featuring Jimmy Fallon and Anna Kendrick engaged in a particularly rousing duel of Egg Russian Roulette, natch.) Several outdoor patios offer more seating options, set against unparalleled views of the Hudson, for an additional 150 diners.
The Egg features a café and market (left) and the Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA (right)
Student-run stations crank out a variety of delectable offerings. There’s the Innovation Kitchen, dishing conceptual cuisine for Intrapreneurship classes (it currently houses Tamago Ramen, with a Mexican street foods concept, dubbed Leyenda, slated for the fall); the centrally positioned Café serves up pasta, stir-fry, coffee, frozen yogurt, sushi, and grab-and-go items for chefs on the run; and a station called The Line holds high-volume Production Kitchen courses.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is the sleek in-house brewery. A collaboration between the CIA and Brooklyn Brewery, it doubles as both a classroom and production facility. Students enrolled in the Art and Science of Brewing course will be able to craft their own brews on-site as soon as permits are secured this fall, and though in-house bottling is not offered, growlers will be available for take-out. For oenophiles, vinos on tap hail from Millbrook Winery, including their Tocai Friulano and a full-bodied Pinot Noir.
A “green-minded” space, The Egg’s dining room is actually devoid of garbage cans. Instead, diners bring their trash to the Tray Return tucked away at the rear of the facility, where uneaten food will be composted and other items recycled.
A sundries cart, private dining room, charging stations, free Wi-Fi, study area (complete with a fireplace and library), a piano, and board games — one Scrabble board revealed “EGG”; “STUDENTS”; and “ALBUMEN,” the culinary term for egg white — round out The Egg’s many features.
Indeed, the Culinary’s new dining hall is everything it’s cracked up to be.
The Egg is open Monday to Friday from 5:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. on weekends. For more information, visit www.ciachef.edu/student-commons.