Harshita Jain ’14

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Harshita Jain ’14

The CIA program doesn’t just focus on the hands-on kitchen/bakeshop aspect, you learn the fundamentals—nutrition, menu development, food safety, management, cost control, and finance—all the elements necessary to succeed in this profession and grow as a person.
—Harshita Jain ’14

Degree: Associate in Occupational Studies
Major:
Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Mumbai, India

How did you become interested in food?
My passion for food began at an early age. I worked with my father for a while, but handling a huge firm was not my cup of tea.  For me baked goods and pastries have been always been both my passion and weakness, and still is to this day. Traveling across the globe and visiting beautiful countries like France, Italy, and Switzerland have broaden my horizons in the pastry industry. When I came back to India, I realized that my country has a huge gap in the pastry industry.

Who most influenced you?
Actually it was the pressures from the Indian society that was my biggest influence. In my country, baking and pastry is considered a more laid back profession rather than a serious professional one. For this reason, it made me want to pursue this career path even more.

 Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Coming from a corporate family, who deal in plastics, it was very difficult for me to convince my family to let me study baking and pastry arts. After much convincing on my part, my family supported my career choice. There was a lot of pressure from the Indian society, calling my profession “every woman’s job” or saying “cooking is something people that aren’t that smart do for a living.” It was shocking to me to see how close minded some people are when it comes to professions that are outside of the norm for my country. Fortunately, I never let these things affect me and I kept my focus on pursuing my passion as a career.

Why did you choose the CIA?
The CIA is the best culinary college in the world and it is located in the land of opportunity, the United States. The program  doesn’t just focus on the hands-on kitchen/bakeshop aspect, you learn the fundamentals—nutrition, menu development, food safety, management,  cost control, and finance—all the elements necessary to succeed in this profession and grow as a person.

What do you like best about CIA?
At the CIA, I am exposed to so many different ingredients, products, people, cultures, and the privilege of  trainning under the greatest chefs in the world at the greatest culinary school in the world.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am secretary of the Indian Students Association—The Masala Club.

What are your career goals/plans?
I would love to introduce American and French baking and pastry to India and hopefully change my country’s perception of this industry/career path.

Any advice for prospective students?
Whatever you decide to do in your life, do it with passion and always give 100 percent. Don’t be disheartened if things don’t go the way you planned or intended. Just focus on working hard towards your goals and dreams. You will get where you need to be if you stay committed and true to yourself. The CIA is challenging, but anything worth having or fighting for, is a challenge and worth it in the end.

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