Chef's Corner BubbleChef's Corner

Tony Tells it All: Back at the CIA


Jun 19, 2018

During my time working in the foodservice industry, I’ve been a teacher to my staff in the back of the house, as well as an instructor to students in the classroom. I love being a mentor to chefs, whether they’re just beginning their culinary career or brushing up on new skills.

As an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, I taught several continuing education courses for adults thinking about switching careers. It was always interesting to see the different paths students were coming from.

I would love to go back to the CIA to teach another course. If you guessed that the subject matter would be turkey, you’re absolutely right. But since we already know I love teaching people how to prepare and use turkey, I’d like to talk about another one of my favorite ingredients. I’d teach a CIA course about fish—yes, fish.

I’d demonstrate different methods of cooking and serving fish. People tend to be intimidated, so they often overcook it. I would also educate students about the differences between farm-raised and wild-caught fish.

My favorite fish dish is arctic char cooked on a plank on the grill. I use an oiled hickory plank and season the fish with only salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil. It’s simple to make, and the flavor is just fantastic.

Depending on its preparation, fish can be a better-for-you protein, just like turkey. That’s another reason why I’d like to teach future chefs how to incorporate it onto their menu. Diners are looking for healthier options, and operators are looking for more ways to meet that demand. I’d like to teach them how.

If you could teach a course at the CIA—or anywhere, really—what would it be? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts with me on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Talk to you soon!