How did you become interested in food?
I had worked in the front of the house for years and developed a real passion for service but I felt I needed a broader knowledge of the restaurant industry. I was still on active duty when I found out about the CIA and I knew from then on, I had to go.
Who most influenced you?
Brian McSherry. He was my boss at a restaurant back home. I was originally applying for the dishwasher position but during the interview, he decided that I should be in the front of the house. I knew so little about restaurant service and etiquette; he really sparked my passion for proper, excellent service.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
Actually, no. I was in school within a month of finishing my Army contract. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veteran’s services at the CIA were awfully helpful in making the process a smooth transition.
Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I was a non-commissioned officer both in the Army Reserves and, most recently, on active duty. I was a Healthcare Specialist and Civil Affairs Specialist in the Reserves, and an Infantryman with 2-22 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
Why did you choose the CIA?
The CIA is clearly the best culinary school in the country. The history of the CIA and its background of service to military men and women made it an obvious choice.
What do you like best about CIA?
The best part is the challenge the CIA presents me. There is a lot of responsibility for me to really get the most out of the school. I feel it is that self-efficacy that develops a truly professional chef.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I did go to a Brew Club meeting and had a blast. I really want to start brewing my own beer and it is fantastic that there is a group where I can get my feet wet. I have also heard nothing but good things about the Garden Society so I might check it out soon.
What are your career goals/plans?
I really want to find a mentor that will help build and expand my skills. I don’t have any specific goals but that is where I want to go. Long term I would like to own my own restaurant but I have a long road ahead of me and I am very excited about the journey.
Any advice for prospective students?
Work on knife skills if you can. You will be given a chance here but if you have that fundamental ability it can really give you some breathing room in your first semester.