GMC Breaking News

Mar 4, 2021, 2:17

Vintage Menu Art Rediscovered Thanks to CIA, Cool Culinaria

The Culinary Institute of America has partnered with Cool Culinaria to bring the CIA’s extensive collection of more than 30,000 menus to new audiences in the form of archival prints, notecards, coasters, mugs, tea towels, placemats and other products.

The Culinary Institute of America Menu Collection was started in the small reference library at the college’s first campus in New Haven, Conn., with donations from members of the college community. Over the years, it grew from the generosity of many major menu collectors, including George Lang, Chapman S. Root, Craig Claiborne and Roy Andries de Groot. Now housed in the Conrad N. Hilton Library on the CIA’s campus in Hyde Park, N.Y., the menu collection contains items dated from 1855 to the present, including a significant representation of international menus.

The archives staff has worked closely with Cool Culinaria to hand pick an initial selection of more than 30 menus, including the oldest in the collection—Clifton House, Niagara Falls, 1855. Each menu was scanned and the digital files were sent to graphic artists who restored the images to their original glory by digitally removing stains and tears, while minor imperfections were retained to reflect the age of the menu.

The menus span a broad swathe of culinary history, showing the flair of chefs, restaurateurs and graphic artists over a period of more than 150 years. Archival prints include a copy of the interior of the menu along with a brief description about its history.

Cool Culinaria is a pioneer in the field of vintage menu art restoration and transformation. Its mission is to rescue this lost and forgotten folk art from private collections and institutions and bring it back for the public to enjoy with a new appreciation.    

To view the full range of offerings from The Culinary Institute of America Menu Collection, visit the Cool Culinaria website.