• Faculty Spotlight: Chef Claudia Silva

  • Faculty Spotlight: Chef Claudia Silva

    Lecturing Instructor—Baking and Pastry Arts

    Tina M. Cortez ’26 is a Food Business Management major.

    For all CIA Baking and Pastry Arts students, their first kitchen class is Baking Techniques. In this class you learn the basics and fundamentals of baking and pastry. This includes things like custards, chocolate tempering, lamination, pâte à choux, and so much more.

    A couple of different chefs teach Baking Techniques, one of them is Chef Silva, who is currently the chef in Bakeshop 7.

    Who is Chef Silva? Where are you from and what are some of your hobbies?

    I’m from Chile, where I studied culinary and where I started my career. I enjoyed traveling a lot. Now I enjoy being at home.

    What interested you in joining the industry?

    It never was in my plans until I was in university, cooking really relaxed me and people enjoyed what I cooked. My mother was a great cook, and I loved to be in the kitchen with her. It was a big surprise for everyone that I decided to study culinary in those years, not too many people wanted to be a chef. But I wanted to study culinary or pastry and finally I did culinary first, I think it was the best decision of my life.

    What did your culinary/baking journey look like, past jobs?

    Because I’m a culinary and pastry chef I had different experiences. In Chile I worked in the best two hotels in Santiago, and it was an amazing experience. I learned so much about hard work, teamwork, and tons of discipline and being very careful following rules of sanitation. As a private chef, I learned to follow directions, to be dedicated to the people that I work with. To have very high standards and ethics. I started to be more concerned about healthy food and good balance. As an instructor I learned how to form the future professionals, more dedication, and be more open minded. To learn that nobody learns the same way, to be more patient and listen.

    How did you find your way to CIA? And how long have you been working here?

    I started to work at CIA in September of 2020. Right after the International Culinary Center, the school that I worked for 15 and a half years, closed after COVID-19. At CIA they needed instructors and I wanted to continue teaching. I never dreamed of being so lucky to start to work right away at CIA.

    What is your favorite part about teaching Baking Techniques at CIA?

    I love teaching Techniques, because it is more challenging for me as an instructor. I learn more from the students and I have more time to share with them.

    What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending CIA and/or a career in food and beverage?

    You need to be willing to sacrifice many things, like weekends, holidays, and family moments. It is not an easy profession, but it is beautiful and rewarding. Everything is possible, you can be anything you want, but it comes with hard work, discipline, and dedication. If you are not prepared for that, it is better to do something else. Sometimes love is not enough for this industry, you need to be strong to deal with the pressure.

    PS: For any new students, if you currently see Chef Silva on your schedule, she is great. She’s my Baking Techniques chef, you’ll have fun, and she has a great personality!