Elizabeth Slebrch – Student Bio
“Choosing to attend The Culinary Institute of America was easy. I chose the CIA because of the incredible reputation it has, from the great chefs who teach there to the students who graduate and become great chefs.”
Major: Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: San Antonio, Texas
Hometown: Spring Branch, TX
How did you become interested in food?
I’ve always loved art and everything to do with arts and crafts. I believe that food is a way of making art; I love the fine details and the science behind how things are made. I am the type of person who puts everyone before myself and I like making other people feel good and happy. With food, especially desserts, you can really make people’s day and create a beautiful, edible piece of art.
Why did you choose the CIA?
Choosing to attend The Culinary Institute of America was easy. I chose the CIA because of the incredible reputation it has, from the great chefs who teach there to the students who graduate and become great chefs. Before coming to the school, I had no cooking/baking experience at all, other than for fun, and I knew that I would receive only the best education from the CIA. I understood that the classes were only three weeks each and everything would be going at a fast pace, and that is helping me prepare for the industry, which is very fast-paced. I was able to further develop my skills and learn not only the basics of working in the kitchen, but going in-depth and learning about the history and the reasons why we use certain techniques.
How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Scholarships have helped a lot. I know that without having them, it would’ve been a struggle for me and my parents.
What do you like best about the CIA?
The chefs and professors. The chefs are so talented and have been able to teach me the ways of the kitchen and how to make desserts and pastries that are up to their high standards. They do everything in their power to make sure we get a good and valuable education, and they make sure we are prepared for the real world.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I was in the Sugar Rush Club my very first year at the CIA. It was a baking club after school where we would have weekly events or themes and create things related to that theme. We made desserts and pastries for the staff holiday party, we had “Pizza Thursday” where we made normal pizzas and dessert pizzas from scratch, and more.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I really like to do all types of sugar work and gum paste flowers. Cake decorating is also one of my favorite things because I get to be detail-oriented—my perfectionist side—and create beautiful pieces of sculpted art.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
We took business classes after we came back from externship where we learned about costing, creating menus, starting up a business, and financials.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
Work hard and don’t let the pressures of the kitchen get you down. There will be days where it is going to be hard and it will make you want to quit; you just have to take a step back, breathe, and push through.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
I would like to become a cake decorator. I love making flowers out of gum paste and I like building cakes—and everything about cakes. They are a fun way of making art and they allow you to be creative while working and gaining experience at the same time.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Make sure that you are doing something you love! This is a very tough industry and I’m not going to lie and say that the journey will be easy because it won’t be. You have to push through the bad days and work as hard as you can.