The Culinary Institute of America

Bo Na Yoo, CIA culinary arts student, had to fight her way into becoming a CIA student. Her parents were concerned about her traveling half way around the world alone and without family. She knew her passion was for food and the best culinary school education was to be found at the CIA.

Spotlight On: Bo Na YooBachelor's Degree, Culinary Arts Management

Class of 2014
Hometown: Seoul, Korea
“Growing up I was more interested in cookbooks than fashion magazines, and watched more Jamie Oliver than Lizzie McGuire. I guess my culinary passion was always in me.”

How did you become interested in food?
I don’t think there was a clear-cut moment that I was lured into this industry. I always enjoyed food and the culture behind it. I loved the work that went into making food and the marvelous results it brought as well. My mom told me that I would always stick my nose up on the windows of the kitchen—always curious to know what the chefs were creating. Growing up I was more interested in cookbooks than fashion magazines, and watched more Jamie Oliver than Lizzie McGuire. I guess my culinary passion was always in me.

Who most influenced you?
I would have to thank Jamie Oliver and Chef Edward Kwon for my being here. Growing up, Jamie Oliver’s shows were one of my favorite TV shows and his books were almost always on top of my wish-list. I was always amazed how casual he would look while cooking scrumptious looking foods. I think he was like the third wheel on my journey to cooking new cuisine that always seemed challenging for me. If Jamie Oliver planted a seed of interest in this industry in me, Chef Edward Known gave me a reason to nurture it. His dreams of globalizing Korean food sparked a fire in my heart and I want to be a part of globalizing Korean food.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
I wouldn’t call it an obstacle, but I did have to fight my way into becoming a CIA student. My parents were concerned about me traveling half way around the world by myself and without any family in the area. They also had doubts about me getting into the culinary industry. But I knew my passion was for this industry and that I would get the best education in this field from the CIA, so I fought for it. It was actually my first time in my life fighting for something I wanted. And in the end, my parents approved, and they are very supportive in what I am doing. I am extremely glad that I fought for my decision to come to the CIA.

Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I came to the CIA right after I graduated from high school.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose to come to the CIA, because it was one of the best culinary schools in the world that offered a college degree. This meant that I would get a more in-depth education.

What do you like best about CIA?
I would have to say the total experience I am getting here. The classes not only prepare me for the industry but enable me to connect with a diverse group of people; whether they are chefs or colleagues. Being a hospitality industry related college, everyone is extremely friendly which made the transition into this new environment easy. All the experiences I have had here, both academically as well as socially, are irreplaceable.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I recently joined the CuriousiTEA club, but I have helped in some events that happened on campus like working front of the house at the Marist President’s Dinner Dance. I have also taken yoga lessons at the Student Recreational Center.

What are your career goals/plans?
My ultimate career goal is to own a Korean fusion restaurant for people who have not tried Korean food to try to get them more interested in it. But until then, I want to travel to the parts of the world that are currently hot in the food industry so I can learn and gain more experience to help me reach that goal.

Any advice for prospective students?
I would advise them to carefully examine their passion. If you are passionate about food and this industry, then the CIA is the best school for you to help spread your wings!

The Culinary Institute of America

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