Life at CIA…

Wednesday 8 July 2009 | Posted by Kishi | foodaholics

I thought this would be a complete food blog. But I was wrong, I think it’s a blog not only about food or related to food but also about a lot of things that have lead to what I do and how I have changed over period of time.
I have made a lot of friends over last 10 years…through work, through travelling different countries. They have influenced me, my style of working and more so my passion for food. I live to eat…a meal just changes my day, I wake up and I think what will I have for lunch, I work and I wonder what shall we cook for dinner. Life revolves around food.
I will add a series of my times in USA…this is the first one. The time at school and some good memories…

Part 1: At a time when every SRCC graduate thinks of MBA as a next step in their career, I was probably the only exception in a batch of 1500 commerce/economics graduates who was breaking the norm for pursuing my passion for the culinary arts. My research for culinary school started in the simplest manner – using Google Search. I used key words like “best culinary/cooking school in the world”. In the year 2002, I was accepted at the Culinary Institute of America, A prestigious institute with a legacy of churning out famous chefs like Anthony Bourdain, Sara Moulton, Todd English, and Charlie Palmer.

Just as Harvard and Stanford are brand names for prospective MBA Students, CIA provides that platform for culinary students. During the 2 years I spent at CIA, apart from focusing on my major subjects that of Baking and Pastry, I was made to learn about the aesthetics of preparing, tasting, serving and display of food. As a novice it was particularly helpful for me to learn that CIA focuses on an all round development, which helped me tremendously in setting up my own business. I was exposed to classes like menu development, costing of food and beverage, design and styling of food items, product knowledge and wine tasting to name a few. The CIA education not only covers the theoretical but also exposes students to practical situations where they advance from skills kitchens, to meal preparation kitchens, to the award-winning on-campus public restaurants.

While the classes at CIA provided me with formal education on my subject, my interactions with other students – International and local provided me with the support and infused in me the passion to excel in my field. In my second year, I travelled cross country to Seattle to work at the Dahlia lounge – a Tom Douglas enterprise. The work experience or “externship” as they call it at school, at the restaurant helped me terrifically to understand and deal with real- world taste of food industry. This externship is a requirement for all students to graduate at CIA. To summarize my experience at CIA, I got a chance to explore the art and science of baking and pastry because of the unique curriculum including hearth breads and rolls, cookies and tarts, classic and contemporary cakes, and chocolates and confections.

At CIA, I have had a firsthand experience of a supportive network throughout the industry irrespective of career goals that of being a chef, restaurateur, food writer, foodservice manager or a research and development professional. The degrees offered at CIA are Associates (AOS) and Bachelors (BPS). The transition to college life in a new country can be challenging, but CIA experience made this not only smooth but a memorable one for me.

Times at CIA

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