John Gibbs: From Army Family to CIA Family
CIA Student Bio
“I love the fact that all of your chefs want you to succeed. But no chef will give it to you; it has to be earned. It reminds me a lot of being in the Army where it is extremely team-driven.”
How did you become interested in food?
I became interested in food while I was in the Army. I would routinely feed my friends and do weekly family dinners and BBQs for all the soldiers who lived in the barracks with me. That feeling of family is what motivates me in the kitchen and makes me strive to ensure that when I feed anyone, I feed them like my family.
Why did you choose the CIA?
I wanted to learn from the best and build the most solid foundation for my culinary career I can. The reputation of the CIA is world-renowned and I wanted to be able to have that reputation support me as I start my career in such a competitive field.
How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
I’m a post 9/11 GI Bill student, so I am lucky that my service allows for me to not really worry about paying for school.
What do you like best about the CIA?
I love the fact that all of your chefs want you to succeed. But no chef will give it to you; it has to be earned. It reminds me a lot of being in the Army where it is extremely team-driven. The school has done a great job of letting my fellow veterans come together in our own veteran-preferred townhouse, and the community here is welcoming and understanding. The faculty genuinely cares and will do everything they can to ensure your success here and in the future.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
Currently I serve as the president of the Student Veterans Association. Our goal is to ensure that all veterans here now and incoming have an active and loud voice when it comes to the things that matter to our small community within this already inclusive CIA family.
What is your favorite dish to make? Why?
Pernil, a dish my grandmother would make when I was young. It’s just one of those dishes that makes me smile anytime I have it because of the fond and warm memories it brings me.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
I think the CIA does a fantastic job of explaining the front and back end of the culinary world, from menu development and pricing to sourcing ingredients. We are taught everything that is needed to be successful. What we do with it is up to us.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
Patience. I think here I have really learned how to be more patient—not just with others but myself. I’m now more able to take a step back, slow myself down, and learn that you can’t just bust your way through all the problems you have.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
I want to open my own food truck back in Houston. The information and experience I can draw on from all my favorite chefs will be with me every step in my journey to the top.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Do it. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. If food is your passion, come find it here. Learn more about it and cultivate your love of food. Nowhere else in the world will you ever have so much in common with strangers than here at the CIA.
John Gibbs is a CIA student pursuing his bachelor’s degree in food business management at the college’s New York campus. A veteran of the United States Army, he hails from San Antonio, TX.