By student blogger Stephanie Kirkland…
I came across my first essay in applying for entry into the CIA's Culinary Arts program that I had written almost four years ago. I transcribed this in hopes that by sharing it would help out any readers who are interested in applying, but perhaps are at a loss of what to say.
I’m guessing the prompt was to write about someone who influenced you to pursue a career in the food service and hospitality industry. This was my response:
The person in my own life who has influenced me the most to become a part of the food service and hospitality field is my grandmother, better known to the rest of my family and myself as, NeNe. Even though she has since passed away, the lessons in the kitchen and in life she taught me will never go away. The best part of all these memories, I think, is that the kitchen or food we made together was not so spectacular at all. The pies we made for family picnics, my various family members and friends devoured ham roll-ups for Thanksgiving, and even the caramel corn in autumn as they passed through the tiny corridor. Listening to Frank Sinatra as always, we turned out hundreds of Italian Christmas cookies as well as meals fit for an army. She was always so paranoid about not having enough food, just in case an extra party or two should show up unexpectedly. Come to think of it, that’s where I get it from! She always encouraged me to help her in the kitchen. From a young age, I remember standing on chairs to reach the counter as I am sure many other applicants did as well. Even after I had my first dinner party, I went to her with all of the details of how much my friends enjoyed themselves. My NeNe, and also the rest of my family, have greatly influenced my career goals as well. I love to travel and I would be ecstatic to be able to have the opportunity to experience lands and cultures that are completely different from my own. I feel like in this world of so much conflict and diversity, the love of food is universal. I aspire to one day being able to write columns for either a culinary magazine or newspaper. I would like to share my marvels of food with people who appreciate fine meals but also with those who are desperate to break away from the basics. This is my dream. However, if I would one day come across a restaurant I felt inspired and comfortable in, I would jump at the chance to be part of it. As I sit here today, at my computer desk, in the small town of Duncansville, PA, I am wondering of the endless possibilities that The Culinary Institute of America could have for me. If I would be lucky enough to acquire admission into this program, I will burst into tears and literally count the day to that August day when I will be in a classroom learning everything that this industry has to offer. By seeing a small part of it while attending the Career Discovery Program, made me yearn to be associated with every aspect of this school.
I am fortunate in that I can look at this small, 500 word, essay and recognize how far I have grown and learned since writing this. As a writer too, I am finding how much growth has been had. I am not ashamed to say there is an almost desperate quality at the end of it. Perhaps that’s because I just knew I needed to be a part of whatever was going on here.
Reading it again, typing the words over again, and thinking of how in some ways my goals and dreams have changed or stayed the same over my experiences throughout my college career, has been enlightening. It has also been a great opportunity to look even farther into where I am heading. I just hope it is as inspirational for all of you.