Daniel Medina ’15
Major: Culinary Arts
Hometown: Paso Robles, CA
How did you become interested in food?
I have been interested in the culinary industry since I was 15 years old. My parents saw my passion for food and have supported me every step of the way. For me, this is a lifestyle not just a career.
Who most influenced you?
My parents were my biggest influence and support system. The pivotal moments that sparked my interest in the culinary field started as a child with my dad’s BBQ chicken and my mom’s fried roast beef tacos.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
The only obstacle I had to overcome was the financial aspect, however, that was resolved after serving in the Army for three years. While in the military, I served as a food service specialist. This not only gave me a solid culinary background, it also provided me with financial stability.
Do you have a previous degree/career?
In June 2008, I joined the U.S. Army attending basic training in Fort Jackson, SC then moving to Fort Lee, VA to attend Food Service Specialist School. U.S. Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA was my next stop, which lead to being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade combat team, 2-325 in Fort Bragg, NC. In January 2010, I was sent to Haiti during Operation Unified Response. After serving three years in the military as a Foodservice Specialist, I decided to continue to pursue my passion and finish my education.
Why did you choose the CIA?
Before enrolling at the CIA, I attended the California Culinary Academy, which did not suffice. I did some additional research and found that the CIA would provide me with many more opportunities to submerge myself into the culinary world.
What do you like best about CIA?
The professors in the academic classes feed you tons of information and you feel like you are getting what you pay for. I would have to say that the best part about being at CIA is the amount of hands-on experience you get using fresh ingredients.
What are your career goals/plans?
My plan is to work in the hotel sector for a while in order to save up enough money for the bed and breakfast I plan to open in California. The focus will be a farm to table establishment.
Any advice for prospective students?
Come to the CIA with a passion for food. Come to the CIA to learn about food in a way that you have never imagined. And come to the CIA with an open mind. You will meet tons of new people and become part of a much larger successful network throughout the industry. The CIA will be the stepping stone for whichever career path you choose.