The Culinary Institute of America

Michael Woodin, CIA baking and pastry arts alumni, is U.S. Army veteran.

Spotlight On: Michael WoodinAOS, Baking & Pastry Arts

Class of 2013
Hometown: Dorset, OH
Military Branch: U.S. Army
How did you become interested in food?
I started baking in a military dining facility making very simple cakes and was asked to do specialized cakes for different holidays and most events that higher ranking individuals would attend. It really made me happy to hear the many complements of my superiors.

Who most influenced you?
A man by the name of Sergeant Scale. He was one of the best soldiers I have ever known. He took care of his men, kept us in shape, and could cook a mean meal. He is a truly great man and I will always remember him for that.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Having no one in the area that could help me find a place or let me know what areas to live in was tough. I also was worried about the money. Coming from a family that never had much and trying to attend a school that is known for being the best culinary school in the U.S. I didn't know if I could afford it.

Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I was on active duty with the Army for three years, stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia. During my second year, I was deployed to Iraq for 11 months. While stationed at Fort Lee, I worked in a small dining facility that served an average of 300 soldiers, three meals a day, seven days a week. I transferred to the New York National Guard so that I could attend the CIA.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose the CIA because it was known for helping veterans and the military and I had a great NCO (non-commissioned officer) that had graduated from here. He told me that out of all the men we had in our dining facility, he knew I could make it through.

What do you like best about CIA?
I love the instructors. They have a wealth of knowledge and I have learned so much. I would not be where I am today without them.

What are your career goals/plans?
I plan to use the connections I made at the CIA to find a great job in my field.

Any advice for prospective students?
If this is your career choice, then work hard and you will go far.

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