Alison Sprong

Read about Alison Sprong, culinary arts student at The Culinary Institute of AmericaMajor: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Campus:  Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: Verona, New Jersey

How did you become interested in food?
I have always been in love with food. I realized at a young age that working with food is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Learn about Alison Sprong, culinary arts student at The Culinary Institute of America
“I wanted to be where the best chefs were… The CIA definitely gives a well-rounded look into the food industry.”—Alison Sprong, CIA culinary arts student

Do you already have a degree from another college?
Yes. I earned my bachelor’s in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from the University of Delaware.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I wanted to be where the best chefs were. I wanted to be in a community that was unlike any other. I knew that if I wanted to be my very best, this is where I had to be.

Have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Yes, I have received several merit scholarships during my time here.

What do you like best about the CIA?
I love that everyone is passionate about what I am passionate about. Going to a different school first, my friends always looked at me funny when I would gush about a chef or get excited by a cooking technique. Here, that type of conversation happens all the time!

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Yes, many! First, I am the group leader of my class and have been the leader for both pre- and post-extern. Pre-extern, I was an orientation leader. Most notably, I am the editor-in-chief of our school newspaper, La Papillote.

What is your favorite dish to make?
I love making fresh pasta with bolognese sauce. I come from an Italian family, and I remember eating it growing up. Now I make the pasta and it was always my late Pop’s favorite.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
All of the professors outside the kitchen are incredibly knowledgeable. Their stories and experience alone gave me a glimpse into the business world of food. In the classroom, we make menus, create business plans, and do demographic studies. Having a restaurant is not all about good food! The CIA definitely gives a well-rounded look into the food industry.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
A chef told me “You can’t compare yourself to others. The only person you need to be better than is yesterday’s Alison.”

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
I would eventually love to teach future culinary students. The incredible CIA faculty has not only offered advice and guidance on this path, but they have offered wonderful examples of what I strive to be.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Get involved! The CIA experience is so much more than what happens in the classroom. And enjoy every minute; it goes by way too quickly.