How did you become interested in your major?
I don’t believe in stereotypes, but in this one instance I do fit my stereotype. Coming from India and being on the verge of heading into the direction of engineering and science, I asked myself, “Could I do this all my life?” The answer was no! Food has always been a passion and while in the associate program I found out about the culinary science bachelor’s major being offered by the school. It was arguably one of the happiest moments of my life as I got an opportunity to pursue what I am good at (science) and blend it with what I love (food).
Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
A lot of people have been highly influential in my life—my parents being the biggest influence. They have been highly supportive since the day I held a whisk in my hand at four years old. My father always said that a lot of hard work with an abundance of passion and a pinch of luck could give me the strength to achieve anything. My mom, on the other hand, raised me in a way where she always emphasized that the company of people I am around defines me.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Coming from the other side of the globe is always a challenge. English being the sixth language I speak—you can imagine the adjustment it took.
Why did you choose the CIA?
That’s quite simple. I had the opportunity of meeting a great chef in India, and I asked him where could I study more about food. He replied that if I wanted to be the best, I had to learn from the best and that I should go to the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.
What do you like best about the CIA?
I feel one word being misused a lot is “diversity.” Well, the CIA really is one of the only places on this planet that is truly diverse. You will not only meet people from different parts of the world but you will also meet people of different age ranges and with different work experiences. The one common thing we all have is our language. We all speak the language of food!
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
The first semester on campus I was glued to my bed and only left my room for class. I was fascinated by “being in college.” Soon I was disgusted and had to do more. I was then hired to be one of the resident assistants (RAs) on campus, joined the Student Government Association as its finance manager, joined the Masala Club as its president, and later was appointed to the Judiciary Board as its solicitor general. After a couple of semesters, I was fortunate enough to be promoted to be one of six senior RAs on campus.
What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
I plan to hopefully pursue my PhD in something rather unique. I am highly fascinated by how food affects people and their productivity and would like to research more into that.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Dreams don’t come true if you don’t dream! Dream big, and if you don’t get nervous you’re not dreaming big enough. And never forget that the key ingredient to making dreams come true is hard work.