Jennifer Kempin ’13

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Jennifer Kempin ’13

Jennifer Kempin ’13

Degree: AOS for ACE
Major: Culinary Arts
Hometown: Tucson, AZ

How did you become interested in food?
I lived in Germany when I was a child which gave me the opportunity to try foods that I had never seen or tasted before. I just fell in love. That lead to me getting my first job when I was fifteen and I have been working in kitchens and the industry since. I guess I could say it was all because of pom frits!

Who most influenced you?
It was the cooks on the line at my first job in a country club. They were called “the big dogs” and I knew I wanted to be one of them. It wasn’t long before I was on the line and it just fit. I feel at home in the kitchen.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Growing up in the small town of Whetstone, Arizona, the most anyone could really hope for was to have a nice family and maybe join the military. So, that’s what I did. I joined the military and moved on with my career in a near by city. So when I decided to attend the CIA, it took a lot of sacrifices from my family and my husband for me to be here. Luckily, I am married to a wonderful man, and I have a very strong family. My husband even sold his only mode of transportation so that I could afford to live while I was here. I’m fortunate to have that kind of support and that’s why I plan to get everything I can out of this experience.

Do you have a previous degree/career?
I attended the University of Arizona, but it wasn’t for me. All I have ever really known is the food industry, it was my first love. Just don’t tell my husband that!

Why did you choose the CIA?
The Culinary is the best of the best. It isn’t just where you go to learn how to cook. It’s where you go if you live to cook.

What do you like best about CIA?
I love the amazing Chefs that I get to work next to and learn from everyday, like Chef David Barry, and Chef Fred Brash. I also love the friends that I have made here. It is amazing to think that I have made life-long friendships with some of the best up-and-coming new chefs the world has ever seen!

What are your career goals/plans?
I already work at Colicchio & Sons as a line cook on the weekends and I’m hoping to stay there and work in New York City until I get a little bit more experience under my belt. My ultimate goal is to work and run an amazing restaurant then come back to the CIA and teach—that is, if they will have me!

Any advice for prospective students?
DO IT! Do whatever it takes to get here. And once you are here, take in every experience and opportunity you can. Really focus and open yourself up to learn because your time here, will go by so fast.

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