The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Restaurant Associates (RA) have formed a strategic partnership geared towards fostering future creativity, innovation, and "intrapreneurial" thinking in the contract foodservice sector of the foodservice industry. In support of the CIA's capital campaign, Restaurant Associates and Compass Group have also made a substantial commitment to provide valuable financial assistance to students in pursuit of their professional degrees at the world's premier culinary college.

Along with increasing student scholarships, the nexus of the partnership will be the CIA's new student commons, which is now under construction and scheduled to open in the summer of 2015. Located at the college's flagship New York campus and designed under the direction of the world-renowned Adam Tihany, the new facility will take the concept of student dining to a new level. The state-of-the-art student commons will feature several cooking and dining venues, a high-volume production teaching kitchen, a fresh market complete with green walls growing herbs and vegetables, a teaching micro-brewery done in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery, and a "black box restaurant" in which CIA bachelor's students studying intrapraneurship will develop and market-test new restaurant concepts.

RA brings a wide range of knowledge in foodservice operations to the new partnership, and is well-known for the premium food venues it provides to museums, performing arts centers, corporate dining operations, and educational facilities.

The dining facility, named the egg for its oval shape, will be operated by Restaurant Associates in partnership with the education division of the CIA.

"Knowing that so many of our students pursue careers with major operators like Restaurant Associates, it made sense for us to create a new student dining facility that introduces them to the latest innovations in technology and menu development," saysDr. Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America. "As an industry leader, RA's cutting-edge knowledge of providing contract food services in large-volume environments will be a valued addition to our students' CIA experience. In turn, our students are the future of foodservice, and this initiative will enable them to exercise their creativity and explore new concepts with our faculty, to the benefit of Restaurant Associates and the industry."

"To be able to partner with an institute of such high caliber as the CIA is an incredible opportunity for Restaurant Associates," says RA CEO Dick Cattani. "The CIA works with world-famous restaurateurs, renowned chefs, and foodservice companies from all over the world and to have been chosen from this impressive group is, for our team, a dream come true. In addition, hundreds and hundreds of our culinary and management team members within the Compass family are CIA graduates and a number of them will be involved with this project."

"As one of America's leading culinary colleges, the CIA's values mirror all those held by Restaurant Associates when it comes to areas like health, wellness, quality, and sustainability,” says Ed Sirhal, president of Restaurant Associates. “We are thrilled to enter into this long-term partnership with the CIA and look forward to creating an entirely new standard of food and hospitality excellence."

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