Lauren Feldman: Better Chef, Better Person…Bigger Dreams
CIA Student Bio
“The CIA offers one of the most amazing communities that always shows me I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.”
How did you become interested in food?
Ever since I was young, food has been more than just a source of nourishment. For example, rather than repetitive meals of mac and cheese with chicken nuggets, my parents pushed us to expand our palates through foods that were exotic for our age. Having these new varieties exposed to me at such a period has allowed me to broaden my horizons in the kitchen, to express my creativity further. Experimenting my way around the culinary field helps me interact with others who share the same passion I do, often leading to long-lasting relationships. The ability to take my creativity and intertwine it with a hands-on approach is what has genuinely made me gravitate towards the culinary path.
Why did you choose the CIA?
Growing up, watching the Food Network was the norm. Every time I watched it with my family or simply had it playing in the background, I was instantly attracted whenever I heard someone speak of The Culinary Institute of America. I kept hearing The Culinary Institute of America spoken about many times by the finest of chefs. I knew then that someday I wanted to be the chef to proudly speak of being a CIA alumna. When it became time to apply for colleges, this was the school for me.
How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
What do you like best about the CIA?
No matter where I am within the school, there’s always someone nearby who helps push me to not only be a better chef, but a better person. The CIA offers one of the most amazing communities that always shows me I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am currently the president of the SPICE (Student Programming Involvement and Community Engagement) board. As president of SPICE, I determine and oversee the student affairs events at Greystone. I really enjoy this position because you get to plan events that students can have fun with outside of the kitchen. In addition to SPICE, I’m a residence assistant (RA) and I enjoy helping with special events and conferences on campus.
What is your favorite dish to make? Why?
I really enjoy making challah bread. Growing up with a Jewish background, this was always something my family had, and it brought joy to me when I learned how to make it. I’ve found that making bread by hand requires a lot of effort, but the end product is always worth it.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
Before coming to the CIA, the business side of food never crossed my mind. Quickly I saw that this college’s education builds you up for the culinary industry, teaching things such as “mise en place” inside and outside the kitchen. Additionally, having to build résumés for career fairs and following the policy of wearing business casual or chef whites has boosted my ability to act as a professional. Already, I have gained lots of knowledge and skills for topics such as customer to employer, connection, branding, and many more.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
Always remember to have fun! Although some days are surely tough, I know my time here is short and unique. I always have the best time walking into class with a big smile on my face, ready to start my day with those who share my same passion.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
Someday, I want to own my own business in the culinary field. With a CIA education, I will have loads of experience in the industry, several connections to professionals, and unique experiences to help make my dreams a reality.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
I came to The Culinary Institute of America straight from high school without any culinary experience. At first, I was intimidated by my fellow classmates and chefs because it seemed as if they were light-years ahead of me in their experience and knowledge. However, I quickly learned that experience level didn’t matter—we’re all learning the same exact thing at the same time. The chefs are here to see you succeed and if you make a mistake, it’s all right to do so. The CIA pushes your limits inside and outside of the kitchen. If I were to give any new student advice, I would say to get as much experience as you can here at this school. There are so many great opportunities to get experience, make connections, and further yourself for the culinary industry.
Lauren Feldman is a CIA student pursuing her associate degree in baking and pastry arts at the college’s California campus, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA. She is from Seattle, WA.