The Culinary Institute of America

victoria leach lg

Spotlight On: Victoria LeachAOS Baking and Pastry Arts

Class of 2014
Hometown: American Canyon, CA
“My ultimate goal is to become a food and travel writer. I want to learn about different types of cuisine, especially authentic cuisine from various countries."


How did you become interested in food?
I’ve always had a passion for food—eating and creating it as well as reading and writing about it. I truly believe that a good article about food is almost as satisfying as the food itself. Although, there’s nothing that can compare to a well baked, moist, delicious slice of Devil’s food cake with cream cheese frosting!

Who most influenced you?
Initially wanted to come to the CIA right after high school, but my family was against my wanting to pursue a career in the food industry. It took a lot of compromising, dedication, and persuasion on my part to convince them that this was the career path I wanted to pursue. I worked all through high school in restaurants and showed my family that I was truly passionate about this industry. Now, my parents are my greatest supporters.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Coming from a small town in the Napa Valley, I’ve had to overcome a few hurdles. I am the first person in five generations to leave home to go to college. I am also the first person to pursue a career outside of the medical field. Some family members still give me a hard time about coming to the CIA, however, I’m still here, and for me this is the best career choice. I believe that all my hard work and sacrifices have made me stronger and motivates me to work harder and be better.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I always knew that the CIA was the best. I told my parents, when I announced my decision to come here, that if I was really going to succeed and make it in this industry, I had to do everything in my power to give myself the best chance. So I chose the best school, to give myself the best chance at a becoming an outstanding food writer.

What do you like best about CIA?
As cliché as it sounds, I love everything about the CIA. I especially love the small kitchen size, the student to chef ratio, and the location of the campus, which is along the banks of the Hudson River. Living in New York, provides me with access to New York City—one of the largest culinary meccas in the world. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to start my career.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am involved The Creamery Club.

What are your career goals/plans?
After graduation, I want travel and have the opportunity to taste and experience different foods and cultures. My ultimate goal is to become a food and travel writer. I want to learn about different types of cuisine, especially authentic cuisine from various countries. I’m really passionate about food and travel, and would love to be able to share my experiences with the world.

Any advice for prospective students?
Ask questions and think about the opportunities and future you’d be giving to yourself if you chose to come to the CIA. This is a challenging college and it’s not all about baking cupcakes and cookies all day. This is the best culinary school in the world and many of the nation’s top chefs and master bakers are graduates of the CIA. Deciding to come here was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. There are days when I’m homesick, exhausted, and overwhelmed. But, at the end of the day, there’s nowhere else I would rather be. Coming to the CIA was the best decision I’ve made in my entire life, thus far. Not everyone gets this opportunity. So, my advice is to really think about what you want in life. If you’re as passionate and excited about the foodservice industry as I am, I definitely would suggest that you seriously consider the CIA.

The Culinary Institute of America

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