Matthew Tovey, CIA Culinary Science Student

Matthew Tovey, CIA culinary science bachelor's degree student

Matthew Tovey is a culinary science bachelor’s degree student at The Culinary Institute of America.

Major: Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Science
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown: San Antonio, TX

How did you become interested in food?
I was always interested in food. I remember watching Emeril Live with my dad as a child. I never thought I would end up with a career in food. I enjoyed cooking as a hobby, but didn’t anticipate it turning into anything more. After a short career in music, I worked several odd jobs for a few years before finally landing my first kitchen job. Even in this job I didn’t see a career, only another odd job. But then I accepted a job as a kitchen manager in a scratch kitchen and realized that, not only was I good at cooking, but I was enjoying my job and I wanted to make it my career.

Why did you choose the CIA?
When I decided to go to culinary school, I knew that I wanted to stay in San Antonio, to stay close to my family and the life that I had. I conducted research into each of the different schools in San Antonio and instantly knew that CIA was the place for me. It was very clear that, when most of the other schools were using CIA textbooks, I should come here. I went to an information session at the campus and never looked back. I enrolled that same day, and started a few months later.

What do you like best about the CIA?
My favorite thing about the CIA is the diversity in all aspects of the campus. The opportunity to learn from instructors with such a wide breadth of knowledge has greatly enhanced my education. Being surrounded by students from many different cultures, countries, and walks of life—each bringing unique experiences and skills—continue to amaze me. I honestly can say that I learn something new every day. Sometimes it is large and sometimes it is small, but I do learn something every day.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am the president of the Culinary Science Club on campus. Our mission is to make science fun and accessible to all members of the CIA community through hands-on, engaging events.

What is your favorite dish to make? Why?
I grew up eating pasta, so I find myself often making pasta at home. There is something relaxing about it, regardless of the shape or individual dish. Whenever I make or eat pasta I feel at home.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
The general education requirements here at the CIA have really broadened my understanding of how the business side of food works. After taking management, math, and menu development classes, I feel prepared to enter the food industry able to handle any challenge that presents itself. My class work in the Culinary Science Department has greatly expanded my knowledge for food systems and the mechanisms behind them.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
The best lesson I have learned would be how to organize different aspects of my life. It takes a different set of skills to organize and prioritize what needs to be done in the kitchen than it does to organize your personal life. The CIA has helped me hone my skills to accomplish both.

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
After graduation at the CIA, I plan to get a job in research and development with a food manufacturer. CIA’s culinary science program has provided me with a broad foundation of understanding on which to build my career and additional knowledge.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
I would advise any new students to soak up as much information as you can while you are here. The time goes by faster than you could ever imagine and you don’t want to look back wishing that you had paid more attention. You will never get a better education than this, so truly take advantage of it.