Kenny Sugiarto ’16
How did you become interested in food?
My parents’ own one of the largest culinary and baking ingredients supplier in Bandung, Indonesia. I grew up with the business and they always educated me on the ingredients that they were supplying to the various establishments. They taught me how to deal with customers, the cash register, and ensure that the orders are correct. However, as our company grew, a lot of competitors come along. The ingredients industry boomed as chefs began introducing new ingredients to the market via cooking shows. This is when I become interested in becoming a chef. I want to expand my knowledge in the industry and become successful in my career so I can help my parents keep up with the competition.
Who most influenced you?
My mom and dad always encouraged me to pursue my career. They have always been very supportive of me becoming a chef. After choosing culinary arts as my major, my dad immediately set up a kitchen show room, providing me with all the equipment I would need after I graduate. I am very grateful to have such supportive parents who are willing to help me with my career.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles or challenges to come to the CIA?
I began college at the young age of 15, having just graduated from high school. It was very hard for me to leave my family, the food, and the comfort zone. As soon as I touched down in the U.S., I had to overcome many obstacles like culture shock and making new friends.
Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?
I attended a culinary arts program in New Hampshire for one year prior to attending the CIA.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose the CIA for its reputation. I asked chefs that I knew in Indonesia where I should go to college and they all said that the CIA is the best culinary school in the U.S., perhaps the world.
What do you like best about CIA?
I would say the diversity of the student body. There are so many people here from different countries and cultures and you learn a lot from your friends’ culture and the food from their country. The CIA is the one place, where every day, you talk about food—in the classroom, with the chefs, with your friends. The focus is food. The chefs, are very approachable, and they always want you to have a lot of different experiences. Of course, the variety of international trips that are available to enhance our learning is fantastic.
What are your career goals/plans?
Right after graduation, I am considering enrolling in the Baking and Pastry program. After that I would like to travel around to learn different kinds of spices, ingredients, and cuisines and that it I can better help my parents’ business.
Any advice for prospective students?
The CIA is the best culinary school. You receive an outstanding education and the most kitchen experience. Becoming a chef is a big commitment and you need to be 100% sure that this is the career for you. If so, then the CIA is where you should be.