Kyle Felker ’14

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Kyle Felker ’14

“After talking to Chef Andy, I toured the campus. We ate in American Bounty, and that really helped my decision. I applied, was accepted, and here I am!”
—Kyle Felker ’14

Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies
Major:Culinary Arts Management
Campus:Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Bay City, MI

Coming Up Aces

When Kyle Felker’s mentor talked, he listened. So when Chef Andy Bacigalupo of the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center in Michigan encouraged him to apply to the CIA, that’s just what he did. A visit to the college during the summer sealed the deal.

“After talking to Chef Andy, I toured the campus. We ate in American Bounty, and that really helped my decision,” Kyle recalls with a smile. “I applied, was accepted, and here I am!”

And as Kyle started looking deeper into the programs and campus life at the college, he realized there was a bonus. “I looked into the sports programs at the CIA, and was happy to see there was a tennis team.”

Tennis and cooking both came into Kyle’s life at around the same time. He got a job in a country club when he was 16, had the opportunity to do some food preparation, and after attending tech school and learning from Chef Bacigalupo, he “fell in love with it.”

He started playing tennis competitively during his freshman year in high school. “My best friend asked me to try out so I did,” Kyle says. “The coach said I ‘wasn’t that bad’ so I made the team. I also did summer tennis camps with my friend, which made us both better players. By junior and senior year, I definitely improved.”

Now Kyle gets to continue that improvement at the CIA thanks to the college’s intercollegiate tennis team—although the schedule can be demanding. “We practice from 8:30 to 10:30 at night. I’m a PM student so when I finish class I have to rush over to practice,” he says. “Then it’s back home at 11 and up until 1 or 1:30 doing homework. But balancing sports and classes isn’t so bad. Tennis is a great stress reliever. On tough days you can just go there and smack a ball as hard as you can.”

It helps that he finds his classes enjoyable as well. “The CIA experience is really going good,” he explains. “Meat class is great! Chef (Thomas) Schneller is entertaining when he does his demos. He makes the class fun. Campus life is fun too…hanging out, playing video games, watching football. I’ve made a lot of friends here.”

After he graduates, Kyle is anxious to continue honing his cooking skills. “I want to be on the line for awhile, work my way up,” he says. “Hopefully I can own my own restaurant in a few years, but I want to keep my options open.”

For the moment, however, he’s very happy right where he is. “Cooking is fun,” he says. “I love Modern Banquets, where I can follow a recipe and cook a wonderful meal. I love creating things like my favorite dish, chicken fines herbes. And I love being on campus and playing tennis. I’m really enjoying myself.”

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