Kimberly Berardi ’14

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Kimberly Berardi ’14

“My parents met as students at the CIA, so I have been hearing the name for as long as I can remember—as if it were a magical place!” – Kimberly Berardi ’14

Degree: Associates of Occupational Studies
Major: Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: St. Helena, CA
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you become interested in food?
My parents met as students at the CIA, so I have been hearing the name for as long as I can remember—as if it were a magical place! I have been surrounded by great food my entire life and began working at the age of 15, experiencing both back and front of the house operations. These experiences have allowed me to develop a good understanding of the foodservice and hospitality industry over the years. It only seemed natural to expand on my love of cooking and baking by attending the CIA to receive professional training.

Who most influenced you?
My family and friends really encouraged me to follow my passion. Because both my parents are graduates of the CIA, food was respected and celebrated from a very young age. The creativity of the craft and the vast diversity of flavors that exist is truly exciting to me.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
The greatest challenge was the drive here! My dad and I made the trip from Philly to Napa in 3 days, and it’s an experience I will always hold close to my heart.

Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I have a B.S. in Sport and Recreation Management from Temple University. The economy was at its worst when I graduated, so I supplemented my income by continuing to work in restaurants. There came a point when the benefits of working in a restaurant outweighed those of working in my intended field, so I decided to pursue my passion.

Why did you choose the CIA?
There really was no other choice, as my mom, dad, and brother all attended the CIA. It has always been a part of my life, and I look forward to continuing the legacy. My education at the CIA will undoubtedly put me ahead of the game.

What do you like best about CIA?
Everyone gets a fresh start here. My past experiences in life and in the foodservice industry have obviously shaped the person I am today, but a lot of that gets left at the door. It’s about your dedication and performance in class and in the kitchen, your interaction with people, and maintaining a positive mental attitude.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am most active in Yoga Club. I also attend meetings for Bread Club, Student Government Association and Wine Club.

What are your career goals/plans?
I am still finding my niche, but I hope to work for one of the major hotel chains with the ability to travel to different properties around the world. Ultimately, I’d like to open my own café.

Any advice for prospective students?
Get as much experience as possible before you arrive. No matter how great you are, show a sense of humility. This is a lifestyle that not everyone can manage, and you need to be ready for the challenge.

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