More than 800 students at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, received insight about the very definition of cooking from Ferran Adrià, one of the world's most innovative and influential chefs. Chef Adrià's lecture on March 12 was also the first opportunity for CIA students to preview the new Marriott Pavilion on campus.

Chef Adrià is considered the father of avant-garde cuisine. During his presentation about the history of cooking, he challenged students to question the meanings of even the most basic terms they use and how they think about food and cooking. Following the 90-minute talk and Q&A session in the new building's Ecolab Auditorium, Chef Adrià held a book signing and posed for pictures with students.

Adrià's restaurant near Barcelona, el Bulli, was named the World's Best Restaurant for four consecutive years from 2006 to 2009. He recently published a seven-volume cookbook, el Bulli 2005–2011, a catalog of every dish produced at the restaurant in those years.

CIA students will be treated to more valuable insights when world-renowned restaurant designer Adam Tihany and chef/restaurateur and 1979 CIA graduate Charlie Palmer sit down with CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan on Thursday, March 27, in the Marriott Pavilion. Together, they will discuss what it takes to create award-winning restaurants.

The $19 million Marriott Pavilion, which includes the 800-seat Ecolab Auditorium and conference space, is scheduled to be formally dedicated on April 30.

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