Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why the Culinary Institute of America?

By CIA Student Blogger Morgan

Hello to all of the CIA blog readers! I am new on the scene and figured that I would start my journey with you by explaining first how I came to be a baking and pastry student here at the Culinary Institute of America, and how I have never once looked back.

I am a "non-traditional" college student. Meaning that I am 23 and I have a previous Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. To some it may seem like going to culinary school now is a big change of direction in my life or a result of my boredom with the business world. In reality, culinary school has always been my Plan A. I went to a different college beforehand because that was what made sense for me to do first, but I pined for the pastry world and always knew I belonged there. I worked in cafes and bakeries over my summer breaks and decorated cakes on a cheap turntable in my dorm room. I even spent an entire year writing my senior thesis on chocolate and the fair trade cocoa industry. To be honest, I felt way more "non-traditional" in business school than I have ever felt at the CIA. The number one reason I came here is because I fit here.

(Side note: this picture is not an accurate depiction of the gender representation in your average B&P class. We're just too good for boys.)
This is my class of bakers who started at the CIA in January 2013. These girls are my kindred spirits and my sisters of the trade. Together, we come from three different countries, at least eight states, and span seven years of ages. That's a lot of walks of life, but we all have one important thing in common- FOOD. Particularly, sweet food. They understood and accepted me faster than any teammates I've had before. Having a time in your life when you can be completely submerged and surrounded by your industry (and competition!) is irreplaceable to me.

I'm guessing that you would find the same camaraderie and sense of belonging at most culinary schools if you're a chef at heart, so then, what sets the CIA apart from others from a logistical standpoint? For me, it was the networking opportunities and reputation of the school. I decided that if I was going to make the financial commitment to go to culinary school, I was going to write my check to a school that gave me the resources to do things like:

Shake Thomas Keller's hand.

Attend a career fair this jammed packed with companies I would like to work for, and who would love to hire a CIA grad.

Connect with local alumni and create extra-curricular workshops like the one my class did making this bunny cake with Derek Corsino

And of course, being in close proximity to this view from the Walk on the Hudson, doesn't hurt either!

What I came to quickly realize in my culinary school search was that they all come with a price tag. But if I learned one thing in college the first go-round, it was that eventually, even college ends. And unless you're like me and plan on high-tailing it right back into another higher learning institution, you have to get a job at some point. At the CIA I know that I will receive a top notch education, but best of all my future employers know that I will receive a top notch education. That kind of stamp of approval is priceless - especially in the food industry.

Those are just some of the many reasons why I chose to come to the CIA, and I find more to justify my decision every day. To follow me on my culinary journey be sure to check back at the blog often!

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