Henderson Wong ’13

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Henderson Wong ’13

“After browsing through the website and looking through the faculty members, I realized that CIA has, and always will be, seeking the highest quality in every aspect of the school. This matched my pursuit of perfection, therefore making the decision to go to CIA an easy one.”
—Henderson Wong ’13

Major: Culinary Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia

How did you become interested in food?
I found my interest in the culinary industry when I was in 11th grade. At that point in my school career, I had to decide what I wanted to do as a life-long career. Business was always the first career choice my parents encouraged me to pursue, however, I had this passion inside me that lead me to choosing cooking as a major. I have been cooking since I was 12 years old, so it only seemed natural to choose it as a career.

Who most influenced you?
When I was in high school, cooking shows were starting to emerge worldwide. Jamie Oliver was the first chef who truly inspired me to start cooking. Watching his shows and observing his simple style of cooking made me realize that creating delicious food does not have to be complicated. The blend of flavors and the attention to health that Jamie puts in his food also reflects what I really hold important as a principle of my own cooking.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
My biggest challenge was convincing my parents that this was my career choice. Coming from an Asian family, it is tradition that the eldest son continues on in his father’s business and that is what my parents expected me to do after school. Therefore, they kept on pushing me to take business as my major and discouraged my desire to cook. It took me a whole year of constant arguing and counseling to finally be able to convince them to send me here to CIA.

Why did you choose the CIA?
The CIA’s unrivaled reputation as the premier culinary school, is known worldwide. I heard of the school from a friend of mine who told me that it was the best culinary school in the world. After browsing through the website and looking through the faculty members, I realized that CIA has, and always will be, seeking the highest quality in every aspect of the school. This matched my pursuit of perfection, therefore making the decision to go to CIA an easy one. I believe the CIA is able to facilitate my desire to rise up in the culinary world through its curriculum and renowned faculty members.

What do you like best about CIA?
The CIA is not like ordinary colleges. The school is filled with food from one corner to the other. Every day, I can always smell something cooking and this just brings joy to me. I love being surrounded with my number one passion and by the people that share the same passion as I do.

What are your career goals/plans?
My short term goal after graduation is to gain as much experience as I can from the world’s best restaurants. I want to work in kitchens that are highly acclaimed and absorb their techniques and skills. I would also like to have the chance to travel around for a little bit to experience different cultures and the cuisines related to those cultures. Ultimately, my long term goal is to own my own establishment in Indonesia and through that I hope to revolutionize the dining scene there.

Any advice for prospective students?
The greatest advice I could give is to never give up on anything you do. Face challenges positively and have a goal in mind at all times. Aim towards that goal and do whatever it takes to make sure you reach that goal.

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