A Trip To The CIA

February 22, 2011

I am always grateful for Chef Percy Whatley’s contributions to the blog. Here is a post regarding his recent visit to the CIA career fair.

I have been working with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for the last seven years, placing culinary students into the brigade of The Ahwahnee in either a graduate capacity or an extern capacity.  I wanted to share with you my recent trip to Hyde Park with Chef Roland and Camille Jackson from HR Corporate.

The two-day career fair at the CIA campus is located in the student center, a large multi-purpose hall that acts as a fitness center for the students.  There were approximately 50 companies there trying to attract the attention of the students and alumni of this prestigious culinary program.  On day one, the booths were set up with whatever props you want to bring to attract attention.  We, of course, had our ultimate prop…Chef Roland Henin, CMC!!!  He is still a legend on the campus, even though it has been 25 years or more since he was an instructor there.  Day two is set for interviews with interested candidates that you meet on Day One.

Although Delaware North is a very large and diverse company, our brand is not very recognizable to the young leaders of industry at the fair.  We spent a lot of time explaining who we were, what we do, and where we do it.  Once this information became known, however, an interest was piqued and we were able to continue the conversation or even set a time-slot for an interview the next day.

As we went through this process, it was very clear to me that we do not have a strong enough presence at this school.  Many students know of The Ahwahnee, TD Garden, etc, but really, no one knows who the heck Delaware North is…this needs to change.  I foresee us taking a bigger part in recruiting at future CIA career fairs, if for nothing else than to increase exposure for Delaware North as a top culinary brand to the young professionals of tomorrow.  There are tentative plans to do this in the fall to recruit help during the busy times for Hockey and Football. I am sure there are chefs out there that would appreciate it.