Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why I Chose to Come to The Culinary Institute of America

With this being my first blog assignment, I can remember receiving the email on what to write about, and how I felt upon receiving it. I opened my email on my phone and read the question “Why did you come to The Culinary Institute of America?” While reading that, I was walking up the hill to class; the sun beating on my face, my left hand grasping my knife kit, and my carefully pressed uniform on my back; I looked up and saw our main building (Roth Hall) standing tall as the highest and most acknowledged point on campus. I could not help but smile. My mind was reverted back to the day I received my acceptance here to CIA and how excited I was that I would soon be a part of the family of those who attended the best culinary school in the world. After being here for a few months between being submerged in the atmosphere and establishing a rhythm and schedule to my life, it was almost a challenge to envision myself not being here. The answer though to the question “Why did you choose to come to the CIA?” was not far from my mind or my heart.

             I am a transfer student and I previously attended Baldwin Wallace University to study Music and Education. Although I was very happy with where I was in my life, there was something that I still felt missing in my heart; at the time though, I was not sure yet what it was, I guess it was just one of those things one cannot put their finger on. While at this school, I changed my major seven times, trying to find what was right for me and where exactly I would fit in; I admit, it was a struggle. One afternoon, I was taking a drive with a close friend, just talking about how I was feeling about the situation. He had knowledge that I had a love for food, especially in baking, and knew that I had previously thought about culinary school as a young child, but ended up putting it in the back of my mind as a pipe dream. He said to me “Why don’t you consider culinary school again? You love baking and I think you could do really well with it.” That moment turned on a thousand light bulbs in my head, it was like the circuits in my brain of my childhood dream connected again. That evening, I researched the “culinary world’ and all it entails; I found myself with the more I read, the more I didn’t want to stop. I was hooked.
            Within my research, I found that the name “The Culinary Institute of America” appeared everywhere; from reviews, alumni, prestige, recognition, restaurants; the list goes on. I looked more into the CIA, and this place of study entered the top of my list. I devoured every word on their website; from blogs, information, research, facts, student spotlights, class descriptions, and chef backgrounds, I read every word that I came across.  What really sold me was the tour I attended. Our tour guide was Eric Jenkins, who worked in the admissions department. Every word he spoke was more passionate than the last about the school, and his excitement and charisma was more contagious than the flu. As I ventured through Roth, every stop we made had my eyes growing wider with awe. I stood there and watched the students work and secretly envisioned myself wearing that uniform and doing what they were doing. It seemed like every thirty seconds, Eric said something new and interesting about the school, or the aroma of thirty freshly baked loaves of bread whizzed by on a tray balanced on the shoulders of a student. I couldn’t blink because my eyes were full of amazement; this place seemed like a whole different world. That moment, I realized that I wanted to experience this magic for myself, I wanted the expectations of the CIA on me, and I wanted to be held to their standards; so I rolled up my sleeves and made it happen. 

Touring The Culinary Institute of America

Just like the other students and chefs/staff, it is assumed that we all have one love; that love is food and everything about it. Here at the CIA, before starting and before even applying, it was very potent that this principle was in place. I knew that by coming to the CIA, I would not only obtain the knowledge of how to cook the food, but I would also experience classes that would teach me why the food is cooked as it is, why the ingredients and cooking methods work together as they do, how different people of different cultures cook/eat these foods, and how to take these foods and turn them into successful productions or businesses. I knew that coming to the CIA would take the capabilities of my mind and expand them to levels of thinking that I had no idea were possible. I knew that coming to the CIA meant being held to standards of many sanctions such as appearance in uniform, actions, and academic standards. Just like anyone though, starting my studies here came with a few nerves and butterflies in my stomach, but looking back I would not have changed my decision. If I could summarize into one sentence on why I came to the CIA; it would be that I wanted to be part of the growing and ever-changing field; I wanted the experience, the standards, the magic, and the family. 

Few of the over 48,000 alumni family I aspire to be a part of one day!

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