Harshita Bhatia


photo of Harshita Bhatia, a culinary arts student at the CIA

“One career goal that I really want is to own my own business; to be specific, I want to open an Italian restaurant. CIA has all the right tools, education, and staff to help me get to my goals.”

Major: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, New York

Hometown: Mumbai, India

How did you become interested in food?
Food has always been a happy memory. I always enjoyed helping my mother in the kitchen especially when she made Chinese or Italian food. As I grew up, I started making those dishes myself and found that I’m in love with food and love cooking it too! Cooking gives me a sense of calmness and drives me to push myself further to bring out the best version of food and myself.

photo of Harshita Bhatia, a CIA culinary arts student
“The CIA is the best culinary school in the United States and they have a great program too. The CIA caught my eye because they have an Italian cuisine concentration in their bachelor’s degree program and I have always wanted to learn more about Italian cuisine.”—Harshita Bhatia

Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
Yes. I have a Bachelor’s is Culinary Arts from Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland. I was there straight out of high school and was excited to learn and live away from home. I got many great opportunities as a student there but I wanted something more.

Why did you choose the CIA?
The CIA is the best culinary school in the United States and they have a great program, too. The CIA caught my eye because they have an Italian cuisine concentration in their bachelor’s degree program and I have always wanted to learn more about Italian cuisine.

How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
I joined the CIA in January, and students who join from the months of December to June get $300 off their tuition fees and that has been very helpful since this is my second degree in culinary. Also, students who get a recommendation letter from alumni get an additional $1,000 off their tuition.

What do you like best about the CIA?
The best thing about the CIA is that they really care about all students and make sure they have a way to get involved. There is always something for each different person and if there is nothing that suits you or piques your interest you can talk to the campus life director and start your own club. They give you a chance to be you while giving you all the tools you need to be successful. They want us to be more in charge of our career and be successful.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Over the past few years I have become very interested in wine, and in learning about wine too. So I joined the wine club on campus and we meet every Thursday. Also, I work as a tour guide on campus and give tours to people who come visit or eat at our restaurants, as well as to prospective students and their families.

What is your favorite dish to make?
I love making anything pasta/Italian. Recently I found new love in making fresh pasta. It has a calming effect on me and makes me happy, and all in all is my comfort food.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
By providing us with classes such as Principles of Menus and Managing Profits, CIA has taught me how to read, understand, and maintain financial records of a business, and how to plan a menu and make profits from it.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
The best lesson I have learned so far is “get involved.” When you first get here, that’s all you hear from everyone—and it’s true. Once you get involved, you get to meet a lot of new people on campus, not just your classmates. Also, once you start going for interviews to get an externship or after-graduation job, employers will ask you what have you done while at the CIA and your response can’t just be, “I went to class every day, and this is my GPA.” They want to know about how you utilized your time here, and if you are open to new situations and work well with others.

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
While I have many ideas in my head, one career goal that I really want is to own my own business; to be specific, I want to open an Italian restaurant. CIA has all the right tools, education, and staff to help me get to my goals.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
If you have the passion and are willing to work hard, do not hesitate to come here. This is going to be the best decision you will ever make. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 60, at the CIA we are all one and we are here because we are all passionate about food.