How did you become interested in food?
My father was a restaurateur, so it has always been in my life.
Who most influenced you?
I would have to say society was my biggest influence. People now a days don’t know what good food is anymore. They need to be taught how to get back into the kitchen with their families and use local, fresh foods that aren’t processed. Cooking always brings a family together and they get to share conversation and a great meal together!
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
I live in Dallas, I’m married, have a home, and own a business. Essentially, I had to put everything on hold to achieve the goals of my education to get the degree I needed to become even more successful. If it wasn’t for my wife, I don’t think I would be here today. She is my backbone and has been the one to stand by me, support my ideas, dreams, and goals. Without her, enrolling at The Culinary Institute of America wouldn’t have been possible.
Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I worked in the aviation sector for Southwest Airlines Co., and retired due to an injury. I decided to get back into foodservice because that’s the field I was working in prior to aviation. I attended The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio and graduated from the 30-week culinary arts certificate program in 2010. I wanted to add a degree credential to my professional resume, so I enrolled in the culinary arts associate degree program for Advanced Career Experience students (ACE) at the Hyde Park, NY campus.
Why did you choose the CIA?
My decision to attend the CIA was quite simple—it’s the best. And, if you’re going to be the best, you have to be trained by the best.
What do you like best about CIA?
I love the chef instructors! They are really patient, and they have such a wealth of knowledge.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Outside of the classroom, I spend my time working as a tutor on campus, staying active with the CIA’s Alumni department, and recently I’ve been accepted into the Alumni Mentor Program for current and future students.
What are your career goals/plans?
I have several different options available to me. As I mentioned, I have my own business. I could either work on enhancing it, or look into working for a corporation as a regional chef or R&D chef. The great thing about an education from the CIA is that no matter which career path I decide to pursue, I will be well prepared to be successful in this industry.
Any advice for prospective students?
If you are considering this career path, then you should make the decision to DO IT! If you are serious about this industry and want an outstanding culinary education that will open many opportunities for you, then you need to take that leap.