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Rare menu and book collection opens at the CIA

Escoffier signed menu in the CIA archives open to public
Escoffier signed menu in the CIA archives open to public

When one thinks of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) the first thing that comes to mind isn’t a library of rare books and menus – it is food! Well, all that is about to change.

The CIA announced today that after years behind closed doors, their archives and special collections is now available for public viewing. It houses materials from the college's history, a collection of more than 30,000 menus from 80-plus countries dating back to 1855, and a rare books collection.

The treasures include a history of the college written by co-founder Frances Roth, handwritten recipes by famous chefs given to Craig Claiborne on his 70th birthday, and a menu signed by legendary late 19th/early 20th century chef Auguste Escoffier. These and other items, along with a selection of rare books, were on display at a grand opening held at the library on January 21.

The Archives and Special Collections room is located in the Conrad N. Hilton Library on the CIA's Hyde Park, NY campus. They are available to researchers and campus visitors by appointment. To learn more about the archives at see their website. To schedule an appointment, email Nicole Semenchuk at or phone 845-451-1270.


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