Abby Kitchen ’15

Abby Kitchen, CIA student, Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts Management
“I had applied to Johnson & Wales but when comparing the programs I noticed a difference in the curriculum. No other schools offer the same number of hands-on time in kitchens as the CIA.”
—Abby Kitchen

Degree: Bachelor of Culinary Arts Management
Major: Culinary Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Alexandria, VA

How did you become interested in your major?
Julia Child. On Saturday mornings while my siblings were watching cartoons, I was watching Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on public television. I was fascinated with the different techniques, ingredients, and tools. Inspired by Julia Child’s confidence I would stand on my step stool at the stove and try my hand at braises, roasts, and soups.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue this career?
Cooking became my passion at a young age, and I was able to explore it as a career path through the culinary arts program in high school where my classmates and I ran a café out of our classroom for teachers and the community twice a week. My instructor taught me how to turn my passion into a career and I have never looked back. I feel so grateful to have had access to such an amazing program run by such an amazing woman.

Why did you choose the CIA?
A friend of mine was a current student, and encouraged me to take a tour of the campus. I had applied to Johnson & Wales as well, but when comparing the programs I noticed a difference in the curriculum. No other schools offer the same number of hands-on time in kitchens as the CIA. The program encompasses all aspects of the industry and allows students to experience them firsthand from leading industry professionals. In my mind, the CIA was the only college that would provide me with the skills, tools, and experience needed to be successful in my career.

What do you like best about the CIA?
The campus. The first time I visited the Hyde Park campus, I was hooked. It was sensory overload. The views were gorgeous, there were students in chef whites everywhere…it even smelled like food. While on my tour, I saw a student walking through the hallway with a flat of eggs, and when I asked her about them she replied, “I have to practice my poaching for breakfast class.” Finally, I thought, a place where I am not seen as a nerd for obsessing over food! Now as a bachelor’s student, it always brings a smile to my face when I see prospective students on tours fawning over the kitchens because we all are here for the same reason.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Yes. When I entered my bachelor’s program I was invited to join the CIA chapter of the national honor society, Eta Sigma Delta. This society brings together business and industry professionals, creating networking opportunities for members while helping surrounding communities though volunteering and service. During the week I work on campus in the Marketing Department as a student data entry assistant.

What are your career goals or plans right after graduation?
After graduation I hope to secure a job in South Eastern Australia and work at a farm-to-table-focused restaurant.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Do not let anyone or anything get in the way of your passion. Every day at the CIA is a learning experience, and even the toughest lessons teach you something about cooking and yourself.