Akanksha Arora


Photo of Akanksha Arora, CIA baking and pastry arts graduate.

“When I finally decided to become a chef, there was only one choice of college to attend—the CIA. It is quite simply, the best. Every chef-instructor is at the forefront of his or her subject and getting mentored by them is nothing short of a dream.”


Major: Baking & Pastry Arts

Job Title: Chef/Owner, Barker’s Dozen Pet Bakery
Location: Mumbai, India

Akanksha Arora grew up in the Chembur neighborhood of Mumbai, India. She graduated from Mithibai College with a degree in sociology then attended the Institute for Technology and Management Business School (ITM), earning a diploma in baking and pastry. “My family, especially my mother and grandmother, have been the biggest influence in my choice of a career,” says Akanksha, chef and owner of Barker’s Dozen Pet Bakery in Mumbai. “Their focus was not just the final outcome, but on learning the different methods of cooking. This got me experimenting with food and pushed me to try different techniques, flavor profiles, and cuisines. I got an opportunity to intern at Theobroma, one of the leading bakeries in Mumbai, and working there helped cement my decision to delve professionally into the world of food.”

Photo of CIA baking & pastry alumna, Akanksha Arora and a furry friendIt was Anthony Bourdain’s bestseller Kitchen Confidential that led Akanksha to the CIA. “When I finally decided to become a chef, there was only one choice of college to attend—the CIA. It is quite simply, the best,” she says. “Every chef-instructor is at the forefront of his or her subject and getting mentored by them is nothing short of a dream. You learn not only the techniques but also how to apply them first hand by exposing you to the actual world, through the restaurants on campus and during your externship. The college provides a secure learning environment for students to explore their potential in any aspect of the food industry. When you graduate, you will not only know the most advanced techniques in cooking and baking, but you will also come out a hardworking, disciplined, respectful individual, and a good chef.”

Back home in India, a tragedy propelled Akanksha to investigate a new aspect of the food industry. “The untimely death of one of my dogs due to our inadequate knowledge of pet nutrition, led me to take a serious interest in the subject. This is what finally pushed me to start Barker’s Dozen—a bakery that specializes in nutritious, preservative-free, and gluten-free treats and cakes for pets.” Her growing business was recognized in 2017 as the winner of the People’s Choice Best Pet Bakery Award. “I’m so happy to be doing what I love and combining it with the passion and love I have for animals. I believe you don’t need 100 people to believe in you, all you need is to believe in yourself.”