Freny Fernandes – Student Bio
Major: Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, New York
Hometown: Mumbai, India
How did you become interested in food?
I have always had a love for eating good food—be it the delicious food that came out of my mom’s kitchen or street food. But it was not until I was in my previous college that I found an interest in baking. I would always make different desserts and pastries and take it to college for my friends. The joy and delight on their faces gave me all the motivation I needed to experiment more and get better at baking.
Do you already have a degree from another college?
Yes, I have a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from one of the most reputed and famous college in India.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I decided that I wanted to be a pastry chef while I was still in my previous college. And all I would do is experiment with new recipes and read more books to learn new techniques. This is when I realized that the kind of knowledge that I seek would be impossible to find by myself. I realized that I needed to learn from the best so I could become the best. So I started my research to find the best pastry school in the world, and here I am.
What do you like best about the CIA?
No matter who you are, what you are, or where you come from, the people here accept and respect you. I have found family in friends and in chefs.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I was one of the founders and vice president of the Masala Club, which is an Indian food and culture club.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I love making crème caramel, or any baked custards for that matter. It is so simple and yet a small mistake could turn it into scrambled eggs. Crème caramel was the first dessert that I ever made and it will always be my favorite.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
I plan on starting my own business in the next two to three years and the CIA has helped me get closer to that goal. The course does not just focus on the actual “making” part but also different aspects that play a key role in this industry. Food Safety, Nutrition, Menu Development, and Wines are the classes that have given me so much knowledge and so many ideas that I can use and keep with me forever.
What are the best lessons you’ve learned while at the CIA?
Be smart, be efficient, be kind, and—most important—be open to opportunities, people, ideas, and anything that comes your way, positive or negative.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
The CIA has already opened a lot of opportunities for me. I did my externship at Restaurant Daniel, which is one of the most reputed in the country, and found my mentor in one of the best pastry chefs in the country. I aspire to have my own business, but before that I need the right experience and training. With the CIA degree in hand, my options and opportunities are endless.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
If you come here with a passion and thirst for knowledge, you will get all that you asked for and more. You just have to know what your goal is and work towards it.