We sat down for an exclusive interview with Sting to learn first-hand how this global citizen came to “bee” CIA’s new mascot. Sting’s primary duties are to bring energy and enthusiasm to campus events and to keep our fans sharp as they cheer on our CIA Steels athletes at games. The Steels we know and love are here to stay and we’re happy to have Sting on our team. Go Steels!
Where are you from?
My ancestors were originally from Asia and came to America via Europe. So I’m truly a citizen of the world—but my main hive is at CIA. I was born on September 8 during National Honey Month! It was so cool that the Applied Food Studies students built us an apiary right here on the New York campus!
My family and I really rack up the frequent flyer miles too, ’cause we call all of CIA campuses home. I’m not a big fan of the cold, so it’s great to have winter escapes on the West Coast and in Texas. We adore the gardens at Greystone and Copia. It’s great to hang with our fellow abejas at the Pearl complex in San Antonio. And a few weeks of R&R at CIA Singapore really connects us to our Asian roots.
We bees have been around awhile. We’ve been producing honey on this planet for some 130 million years! While my family hasn’t been at CIA that long, I’ve heard plenty of stories about my relatives buzzing around A Dorm and the Escoffier Restaurant. At colony reunions, we still quote Chef Clark: “Clean dry board, clean dry fish.” That’s always a hive pleaser!
What brought you to CIA?
Personally, I can’t get enough of the smell. Rosemary and thyme are my favorites—the aromas, not the residence halls!
I also love that the college is so committed to sustainability and healthy eating, just like me. We’re working together on that. There’s a special kinship here between faculty, staff, students, and even the honeybees. We definitely share the same mission—to make the world a healthier, more delicious place!
How did you get your name?
I can’t tell you how many people ask me, “Didn’t you used to be the lead singer for The Police?” I mean, I get it; we’ve both got plenty of charisma and charm. But no, I’m more into flowers than rock.
I got my name because it reflects my tough, competitive side—kinda like some chefs. You need that rep when your species has “honey” in the name! I’m a complex bee—I can be tough and will do anything to defend my hive (and the CIA), but I’m typically warm and friendly. Legend has it that I was actually named by Chef Thomas Keller.
What is your favorite food?
I’m a big nectar and pollen fan. I’ve learned from students pumping iron at the Student Rec Center that protein is important. Pollen is my go-to protein. Ya know, they call pollen “bee bread.” I’m still waiting on a gluten-free option here, Chef Coppedge!
What’s it like living in a hive?
So much fun! We’re all pretty tight and always helping each other. It’s a very strong network of workers, much like of the dorms—or the CIA alumni network. We’re buzzing around and working together to make the hive thrive, and grads from CIA do the same with their fellow alums in the industry. It’s awesome being a part of something that big and that supportive!
Aren’t you pretty much the same as wasps and hornets?
Oh, heck no! First of all, we’re much better-looking. Honeybees build better homes too. I’d much rather have a honeycombed hive to call my crib than a papery nest. But I don’t want to sound too down on my fellow buzzers. They’re very important to pest control, and wasps even do some pollination of their own. But when it comes to the food and ecosystems of our world, you can’t beat a honeybee!
Speaking of which, what do you want CIA community to know about you and your goals?
Not to brag, but did you know that my fellow honeybees and I pollinate one-third of the food you eat and are essential to the health and prosperity of countless ecosystems? We are pretty proud of that!
I’m committed to making this campus the absolute best it can...“bee.” CIA and honeybee communities are really one and the same. Okay, maybe not exactly. I need to travel a bit farther to do my job—more than 55,000 air miles for a pound of honey—and, well, I don’t wear pants. But we both are hard workers, great teammates, loyal to our colleagues and friends, and dedicated to making the food world a better place.
Because of CIA and me, the world is a lot sweeter and tastier!