April Johnson – Student Bio
“I chose the CIA because I wanted the best education from the best chefs. I also wanted to be in a community filled with people who love food as much as I do.”
Major: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, New York
Hometown: Madison, SD
How did you become interested in food?
When I was nine years old I competed in a Special Foods cooking contest through 4-H and received a blue ribbon. When I held that blue ribbon in my hands I thought to myself, “I’m going to be the best chef ever!” and I’ve been chasing that dream ever since.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I chose the CIA because I wanted the best education from the best chefs. I also wanted to be in a community filled with people who love food as much as I do.
How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Scholarships have helped me tremendously. In high school, I competed in ProStart and SkillsUSA, and receiving those scholarships helped me get to where I am today.
What do you like best about the CIA?
The fact that chefs will go out of their way to teach you something extra or go above and beyond. Every chef-instructor I’ve had is always very passionate and willing to teach us as much as possible. The chefs also show you how much they want you to succeed and push us to be our best daily.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Yes, I am the managing editor for La Papillote, the school newspaper. I am also a member of the Culinary Christian Fellowship.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I don’t have a favorite dish to make. What I love about cooking is the versatility of it and that I don’t have to make the same thing over and over again if I don’t want to. It allows you to explore different cuisines and cultures, which is why I love cooking so much.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
Having classes that teach recipe costing and how to manage employees have prepared me for the business side of food.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
My fundamentals instructor, Chef Rudy Speckamp, would always tell me, “As a chef, the two things you control are time and temperature.” That is something that has always stuck with me because it reminds me that I’m in control and I don’t need to crack under the pressure I feel in class or in the industry.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
My career goal is to be executive chef of a restaurant or country club. My CIA education is providing me pathways to meet potential employers, and my chefs are training me to have the skills to handle whatever life throws at me and how to cook to the best of my ability.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
To give every class your all and cook to the best of your ability day in and day out. You really make the most out of your CIA education when you fully apply yourself.