Ashley Madaras – Student Bio
“I enjoy the intensity of kitchens and I really enjoy learning whenever possible. CIA was the perfect combination of a learning environment that held to high standards at all times.”
How did you become interested in food?
Baking chocolate chip cookies with my dad is where my passion for food and baking really began. In elementary school, I often helped my aunt with banquets at the local American Legion Auxiliary. That’s the point when I was really swayed into the savory side of food.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I enjoy the intensity of kitchens and I really enjoy learning whenever possible. CIA was the perfect combination of a learning environment that held to high standards at all times.
How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Applying and receiving scholarships has tremendously helped me to focus more on the classroom and kitchen, rather than loans and debt.
What do you like best about the CIA?
The diversity on campus is incredibly educational. It’s fun to celebrate and learn about other holidays in various cultures. It’s also really cool to learn about the different regions others are from and what kinds of languages are spoken.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I’m a part of the women’s cross country team which placed fourth this past season in the HVIAC conference meet. I’m an orientation leader and am also involved in many clubs and organizations on campus, including the welcome team and SPICE. I work as the social media assistant for the CIA as well.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I love cooking seafood, whether it be poaching, grilling, or sautéing. Salmon is by far my favorite fish; however, each is unique and has different flavor profiles. My favorite thing is to cook and then present it on a plate with a range of microgreens and edible flowers. Anything that enhances the plate presentation makes me happy.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
The food industry is the largest industry in the world, so it’s essential to know how to make money. Each class at CIA is geared towards how to be successful in a business, whether you’re the owner or the employee. I’ve learned how to act as a professional in the industry, how to handle food safely, how to create a menu, and so much more.
What are the best lessons you’ve learned while at the CIA?
CIA has taught me to get involved and really focus on the opportunities and connections that are presented to me each day, whether it be in a kitchen setting, a classroom setting, or walking around at a career fair.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
At this point in my career, my dream is to work in a fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant. I enjoy competition, all the while continuing to expand my knowledge. Obtaining a job as a research and development chef is also a dream of mine. By getting my bachelor’s degree in Culinary Science, the opportunities for me to work in R&D will expand.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
If you’re serious about food and you want to learn from the best, CIA is the school for you. The classes are challenging and the standards are high, but we have the best staff in the world that pushes and encourages you to be your best.