Damon Narkiewicz, CIA culinary arts student

Spotlight On: Damon Narkiewicz '16Associate Degree in Culinary Arts

Hometown: Miami, FL
Military Branch: U.S. Navy
"If you want to be immersed in food and learn everything there is to know about food, then the CIA is the place for you."

How did you become interested in your major?
When I was young I would always ask to see the kitchen wherever I was eating. I was always more interested in what was going on in the back of the house rather than in the front. This lead to a life- long interest in opening up my own restaurant and being able to spread the same joy that I experienced as a child, to others through my cooking.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
I grew up always helping out in the kitchen and trying new foods. After I joined the United States Navy and had the opportunity to travel the world, my experience with food tripled overnight. I believe what truly guided me towards this career field was love of cooking and my willingness to try new things, as well as being exposed to different cuisines and foods from around the world.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I choose the CIA because it truly is the world’s best culinary college. It was founded for veterans which makes it feel like home—something we are all looking for. At the CIA, I am able to hone and enhance my skills while learning new cooking methods and cuisines from around the world.

What do you like best about the CIA?
What I like best about the CIA is the number of expert chef instructors all under one roof. They are masters in their field with an incredible amount of experience, knowledge, and skills to share with students. Everyone at the CIA shares the same passion for food. I love knowing that the people I meet and connections I make while at the CIA, will be with me for the rest of my career, helping and supporting each other to grow into true masters of the culinary arts.

What is/are the best lesson(s) you've learned while at the CIA or what advice would you give to new students?
Teamwork. You will get cut and you will be burnt, but you must never let your team down.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Yes, I am the president of the Veterans Association and Auxiliary Club.

What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
My long-term goal is to one day open my own restaurant and become a Michelin Star chef. After graduation, I’d like to work as a private chef so I can better hone my skills while continuing to learn and advance my career.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
If you are truly passionate about food and want to become a great chef, then the CIA is the best college to help you achieve your career goals. The work here is not easy but if you want to be immersed in food and learn everything there is to know about food, then the CIA is the place for you. Your life will change once you become a student at the CIA, what you do with that change is up to you.

The Culinary Institute of America

1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499