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).
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.