How did you become interested in food?
For me, baked goods and pastries have always been something forbidden. I
grew up around people eating bread, cookies, and cake as freely as they
wanted, but I have quite a few food allergies and sensitivities. As
such, I can’t eat most of the items associated with baking and pastry,
and my only thought about them used to be how jealous I was of people
who could. In high school, I didn’t have a lot of money so I began
making friends cookies for their birthdays and they adored them. I
instantly fell in love with seeing how happy something I crafted with my
own hands made people and I wanted to spread that feeling. I also found
myself extremely intrigued with the science of what I was doing in my
kitchen. The first time I used baking soda instead of baking powder was
not only extremely frustrating, but fascinating.
Who most influenced you?
My parent’s disapproval about my interest in baking is what really got
me interested in pursuing this career, as odd as that may seem. I was
told a career in the food industry was a poor choice and a waste of
money and I should stick to environmental engineering. I was never one
to go against the decisions or wishes of my parents, and my choice to
pursue this career was the first time I did. When they told me how much
they disapproved of my decision to become a pastry chef, it made me
realize how much I really care about baking.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
My allergies have served as somewhat of an obstacle. I’ve been told,
many times, that becoming a successful pastry chef would be unrealistic
because I can’t eat what I make. While hearing things like that did make
me nervous, and I wondered if my chef instructors would agree, it never
made me hesitate to apply to the CIA. I’ve never thought that I need to
be able to eat something in order to make it; my allergies don’t stop
me from understanding what I do.
Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I used to study civil engineering with the intention of becoming an
environmental engineer later on. I realized early on into my studies
that although it is something I am genuinely interested in, it’s not
something I want to do every day for the rest of my life.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose the CIA because I didn’t want to just learn how to make things. I
want to understand methods, ingredients, techniques, and theories. I
want to learn more than just the “how” and I felt that by coming here, I
would accomplish that. I also chose the CIA over all other schools due
to how classes are set up. I really enjoy being in one bakeshop class
“all day” and getting to put my entire focus into the class I am in and
the work I am doing. It’s very intense, but an excellent way to learn.
What do you like best about CIA?
I absolutely love that no matter who you see at the CIA, they are here
for the same reason as you are. When I brought a friend here, he
remarked that it’s amazing to think that every single student is united
in their interests, and I agree. I can sit down with a complete stranger
and have a great conversation about cooking or baking—I can’t do that
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I used to be a member of Slow Food @ CIA.
What are your career goals/plans?
After graduation, I plan on working at a bread bakery in NYC. I fell in
love with bread baking in my first bakeshop class at the CIA, I worked
at a bread bakery for my externship, and I want to keep doing more with
it and learn more about it. In the future, I would like to try working
more with gluten-free products, especially bread, in a more commercial
setting. Although things have been changing recently in terms of
gluten-free availability, I’m still very dissatisfied with the quality
of gluten-free bread. I think breads are amazing and would like to widen
the availability of good quality breads to more people, and to myself.
Any advice for prospective students?
If you want it, get it. If you are genuinely interested in food and
really want to learn, come to the CIA. Think about how much you really
want a career in this industry and if you are serious about it, then