Culinary Institute of America Accepts $35 Miillion Gift for El Sueño

The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N. Y.

Christopher Goldsbury, who made billions from the commercial sales of salsa sauces, is giving $35 million to the Culinary Institute of America. The gift is thought to be the largest single donation ever made on behalf of culinary education. The school will use the gift to expand its Center for Foods of the Americas in San Antonio and to build a center dedicated to teaching Latin American cuisine at the Culinary Institute’s main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Kim Severson reports in The New York Times:

“PACE picante sauce, one of the first salsas sold commercially, made Christopher Goldsbury a billionaire. Now the salsa fortune will pay for a push to deepen the United States’ relationship with food from Latin America, and help restaurant workers move ahead in the kitchen.

Mr. Goldsbury is giving $35 million to the Culinary Institute of America, a gift thought to be the largest single donation to culinary education. The school will use $7 million to expand its Center for Foods of the Americas in San Antonio and another $5 million to build a center dedicated to teaching Latin American cuisine at the institute’s main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y.

The bulk of the donation, $23 million, will feed scholarships that will pay for students to attend the center’s 30-week program in San Antonio. The best of those students will be sent to the Culinary Institute’s main campus in New York to work toward a two- or four-year degree in a program specializing in foods from countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and Peru.

The gift, Mr. Goldsbury said in an interview, is a way to give something back to an industry that made him successful, while helping young dishwashers or prep cooks change their lives.

As far as people working in the kitchen, money is the biggest barrier to getting the kind of training they need to move up,” he said. ”Leaving their homes and going as far as Hyde Park is a tough thing for them. A lot of them would have to leave their families, and they’re supporting them.”

Hispanics are the largest minority group working in restaurants in the United States, making up about 18 percent of kitchen employees, according to a report on the industry workforce by the National Restaurant Association. Most, about 70 percent, are from Mexico. Nearly 30 percent are dishwashers, and may have other jobs in the kitchen. Only 10 percent are food service managers.

Interested readers can access the entire New York Times article here.

The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) reported that Tim Ryan, President of the Culinary Institute of America, rejected the $35 Million offer repeatedly over the course of two years:

“It is not often that a college president has to tell a potential donor that he cannot accept a $35-million gift. Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America, rejected such a donation repeatedly, over the course of two years.

Christopher (Kit) Goldsbury, former owner of Pace Foods, who is credited with making salsa the most popular condiment in the country, approached the institute four years ago, with no prior connection to it. His dream was to pay for a branch campus of the Culinary Institute in San Antonio, where he lives.

Mr. Ryan explained that such a campus was not in the institute’s strategic plans. Mr. Goldsbury, however, did not give up.

We were sitting in my office one day and again, I said, ‘We love you, but your idea is not in line with our plans,'” Mr. Ryan says. “He finally asked what would compel us to consider his idea, which was a very important question that we batted around for another month.”

Leaving such a big gift hanging in the balance for so long is not a natural instinct for higher-education leaders today. But Mr. Ryan says that doing so probably only fueled Mr. Goldsbury’s fire. His business philosophy was focused on the quality of his products, and he came to the institute because he was interested in creating a partnership with “the best in the world.”

I must have said no ten times,” Mr. Ryan says. “I think it only convinced him more that we were the right institution because we were concerned about maintaining the quality of our offerings.”

In May, Mr. Ryan finally relented and accepted the largest donation in the institute’s history….

To help more Latino workers move out of entry-level positions, $7-million of Mr. Goldsbury’s gift will pay for a Culinary Institute of America Center for Foods of the Americas, in San Antonio, and $5-million will go toward a facility devoted to Latino cuisine at the institute’s main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y. The remaining $23-million will pay for scholarships.

The entire project has been dubbed El Sueño — the Dream.”

The History of the Culinary Arts Institute

(Click Image for Video)

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My Articles for Sunday, July 08, 2007

“I think that bugs people even more,” she says, “that I’m not a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It’s probably disappointing to some people. Because in the arc of the story, that’s what they want to see.” Photographs taken of Couric at the time of her CBS Evening News debut, and showing her today.

[tags: Katie Couric, CBS Evening News, television, celebrities, photograph, photographs]

The 25th Annual Mermaid Parade. This is Coney Island’s annual flippers and breasts procession, sort of like Brooklyn’s version of Mardi Gras. Beautiful photographs of many of the hilarious mermaids, along with a slideshow/gallery. Take a look, you’ll enjoy this. It’s a classic!

[tags: Coney Island Mermaid Parade, The Mermaid Parade, entertainment, photographs, slideshow, photo gallery]

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[tags: blogs, I Can Has Cheezburger, cats, dogs, photograph, celebrities, lol cats, humor]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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