Being a student at The Culinary Institute of America you will physically work harder than you would at, dare I say, 'normal colleges'. No we don't get to experience spring break or extended holidays. But being a CIA student means that you become part of a new community.
Being in the kitchen you will have good days and bad days. Recently a friend was having one of those bad days. K-16, the breakfast shift and the last task before you leave for externship, can be daunting. They were way behind at prep and were in the weeds come service. Asking him later on, “What happened? Did chef lose it?”
What he said summed up life on the line.
“Chef was pissed. But everyone had each other’s back. You know, for the first time in a long time you didn’t just feel like student # 000000.”
The people you tremble next to when presenting practical dishes to chef, are the same people who will wipe your brow and maybe help you avoid a burn or two.
Curiosity got the best of me, asking 'Given the chance would you make the same choice? Choose the CIA, choose to be a chef?' After a resounding yes I got to thinking, it almost seemed as if everyone I had spoken to had never contemplated a different life. So would we all make the same choice?