How did you become interested in food?
I was always interested in baking, even as a little girl. Watching something baking in the oven was a magic show for me and it still is. I am also very good at art and baking is a beautiful form of art. I like the fact that I can not only see but also feel, smell, and taste my creation.
Who most influenced you?
My parents were always there when I had to make big decisions. After I finished high school, I was excited about baking, but was a little fearful about whether I was making the right decision by going to a culinary school. Plus, the fact that the culinary school I wanted to attend was half way across the world. My parents strongly supported my decision as they saw the passion I had for baking. Their confidence in me influenced my decision to pursue this career.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
In my country, the culinary industry is dominated by men and it is somewhat of an unspoken taboo for women to be in the kitchen. When people heard about my decision to go to culinary school, I must say it raised a lot of eyebrows. Learning to ignore these people was one of the biggest challenges I have ever had to face in my life.
Why did you choose the CIA?
The Culinary Institute of America is considered the "Harvard" of culinary schools. The CIA is one of the few schools that focuses on hands-on training, besides theoretical classes. I feel that this will give me an added advantage when I enter into the culinary field. I wanted to be at the best school. Naturally, my choice was the CIA.
What do you like best about CIA?
The best thing I like about the CIA is that administration really cares for your well-being. By this I mean they not only help you cope up with your academics but also provide other services and activities which are essential for personal, social, and physical wellness. We have a recreation center, counseling and psychological services, learning strategies, state of the art library, and much more. I am overwhelmed by the resources available to me.
What are your career goals/plans?
I would like to open an organic bakery back in my home country. I feel that an organic bakery is still a new concept in India and I am confident that the skills I learn at the CIA, will help me achieve my dream.
Any advice for prospective students?
I would advise people who are interested in pursuing this career path, that they should come to the CIA with an open mind to learn new things. It's a college for people with a passion for food. Everybody here is a learner. If you are sure that this is the career path you want to be in for your entire life, and you want to be the best in this profession, then the CIA is the place you should be.