May 19, 2016

Latina Eats: From New York to Texas

This is the first entry of a multi-part series by our student blogger Giselle.  Check back each week for the next installment of her experience during her semester away in San Antonio.

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the spring weather wherever you may be! I have been studying endlessly for finals now that the semester is coming to a close. I’m sad to leave school and many good friends in New York, but so ready to start cooking some delicious Latin American food with our super-talented instructor, Chef Remolina! As I prepare to move out of New York and start my semester away in San Antonio, I wanted to share some questions and curiosities I have about my experience with the Latin Cuisine Concentration. I think this will be good to document because I’ll be able to look back at this post in the future and compare my real-life experiences to my expectations I had before starting.

Let’s see what I’m thinking as my time to depart New York approaches…

My classmates and I will be living in the Tobin Lofts, which are only a few minutes away from the San Antonio campus. Based on the pictures I’ve seen online, they look amazing. I saw that they have a gorgeous outdoor pool as well as pool tables inside the facilities. Can you say fan-CY! Here are some things I’m really excited to see once we make our big move to the Lone Star State:

  • What the apartments will look like (the gym, kitchen, and bedrooms)
  • Restaurants nearby, because my friends and I will be trying many of them!
  • Nearby cities like Austin, Dallas, and Houston (I’ve visited these cities before, and let me tell you…they have some pretty mean BBQ and some of the best Mexican food you’ll ever have! I’m psyched to show my classmates some of my favorite spots, and of course to try some new places along the way.)

I’m also curious to see how my classmates and I will transition as our semester away unfolds. So that brings me to one big question:

How does the San Antonio campus differ from the Hyde Park campus?

I think this will be interesting to see since, although they are both part of the same school, they are located in very different parts of the country. Texas, being the second largest state in the country with deep-rooted Southern traditions and food, will have many differences from New York, a melting pot with such a dynamic energy and food culture. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for me in May. It can’t come fast enough!

This concludes the questions I have so far about my upcoming move to San Antonio. I’m very eager to begin the amazing Latin Cuisine concentration with my classmates, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all.

Giselle Sigala

Hello everyone, my name is Giselle Sigala and I am currently a seventh-semester bachelor’s student at The Culinary Institute of America. I’m honored and excited to be the student blogger for the Latin Cuisine Concentration at the San Antonio, TX campus!

A little bit about myself:

I was born in Long Beach, CA and was raised in Fort Worth, TX since the age of 3. (So I’m a Texan at heart…Go TCU!) My parents are both immigrants from Zacatecas, Mexico, so my siblings and I are the first generation in our family to study in the United States.

Since I can remember, I have always had a fascination with cooking and anything food related. As a child, instead of playing with dolls I was begging my mother for an Easy-Bake oven. (Which I found is a common memory with a lot of CIA students. Right? No? Ok fine, I guess it was just me! Haha.) My fondest memories as a child are set in the kitchen, from helping my mom flip tortillas—I remember always burning the tips of my fingers—to the simple smell of charcoal burning on a Sunday afternoon, because this meant a carne asada was in the works…which also meant we were going to eat some great food! Yum!

A major factor that played into my decision to come to The Culinary Institute of America was the large success of my parents’ carnicerias (a Mexican meat market that sells a variety of produce and delicious baked goods). By spending most of my childhood in the carniceria’s kitchen and bakery, I quickly realized that I had a passion for Latin American cuisine. With time, I knew that there was nothing I’d rather do than to make people happy by cooking for them. Knowing this about myself helped me make my decision about coming to the CIA. And honestly, this place has given me countless amazing opportunities and experiences. The CIA has helped me pursue my dream of working in some of the best kitchens around the world, cooking Latin food, and potentially opening up my own business in the future.I couldn't imagine going anywhere else to pursue these aspirations. It is truly an amazing program that is always evolving and striving to be the best it can be.

As a CIA alum, I couldn't be happier to have chosen to pursue my career goals here. Since my graduation from the associate program in June 2015, I have come to admire and appreciate different cuisines and cultures from all over the globe. From the Cuisines of the Americas class I took to the Cuisines of Asia course, this school has taught me that I can learn so much from a culture by simply learning about their food.With that, I am excited to start my semester studying the vibrant food of Latin America at the beautiful CIA San Antonio in Texas. The campus looks amazing, and I can’t wait to write about my experiences! I invite you to check out my blog as I cook some delicious food, explore an exciting city, and learn from some of the best-trained chefs in the industry!

Giselle Sigala