Tera Turczyn

Tera Turczyn og

Major: Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, New York
Hometown: Allentown, PA

How did you become interested in food?

I became interested in food at a young age. While everyone else my age was watching cartoons, I was watching the Food Network. I enjoyed watching chefs like Ina Garten and Giada De Laurentiis. I became interested in baking by watching Cupcake Wars and cake competition shows. I loved seeing how ingredients could be transformed into something beautiful. Because of the strong influence television had on me, I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a pastry chef and operate my own bakery.

Why did you choose the CIA?

I chose the CIA because I wanted to get the best education possible. Since I am spending thousands of dollars on a college education, I wanted to invest my money in the best education I could get. I wanted to learn from the best chefs at the best school in the world.

How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?

Scholarships and grants have helped me tremendously throughout my time at the CIA. I have won several scholarships based on my grades and submitted essays. All of the financial aid I have received has helped me better afford college. My mother is a single parent of quadruplets, so I had no money saved for college. Because of scholarships and grants I received, I was able to take out lower loan amounts to make my CIA education more affordable.

What do you like best about the CIA?

The thing I like most about the CIA is the love for food everyone has. We are all here for the same reason. We love food. We all want to make a career out of it. I enjoy having this in common with everyone I meet. No matter if they are culinary or baking, I automatically have something in common with them.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?

I am a member of SPICE (Student Programming Igniting Campus Entertainment) and frequently volunteer for the Welcome Team.

What is your favorite dish to make?

I really enjoy making entremets because they can require many different techniques and skills. I enjoy seeing the clean and intricate layers of the insert. Once the entremet is built, I enjoy decorating it. Since I have taken the class, I grew to love glazing entremets. It is fun to decorate and finish it because there is no right or wrong way to do it. Once the dessert is finished, it is very impressive to present to others.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?

My CIA education has prepared me for the business side of food because I was able to take additional classes other than kitchen classes. I was able to take classes that deal with culinary math, marketing, menu development, and costing. I have learned how to design menus, how to cost recipes, and so much more. I am grateful that I was able to learn more about the business side of food because of my CIA education.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?

The best lesson I learned at the CIA is to always come to class prepared. Always look over your recipes and procedures for the next day. Have your mental and physical mise en place done. Even if you are hesitant about preparing a certain recipe, as long as you looked it over and have a general understanding of it, that is all you need. You can always ask questions, but if you have not come prepared, the chefs will know and will penalize you for it. Being prepared and ready to learn is the best lesson I have learned.

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?

My goal is to become a pastry chef and have my own bakery one day. My CIA education will help me get there by giving me the knowledge, skill set, and abilities to obtain a good job upon graduation. When I graduate, I would like to get a job with baking and pastry and work my way to becoming an executive pastry chef at a successful restaurant.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?

I would tell them to follow their hearts. If they want to become a chef or own a bakery, then pursue it. It might scare them, but deciding to attend school at the CIA was the best decision I have ever made, and I want other students to go through and enjoy what I have.