Nicholas Aguilar – Student Bio
“My main career goal is to be a general manager of a restaurant. I want to be a leader that I would look up to. I feel that the CIA will help me reach that goal through management courses and developing connections with professionals who are already succeeding in the hospitality industry.”
How did you become interested in food?
My interest in food started with my interest in hospitality. Food and beverage is (in my opinion) the foundation of hospitality, and I was always that kid in my family who made sure that guests were fed and taken care of. Food is what makes people happy, and the thought of creating something for guests fascinated me.
Why did you choose the CIA?
The reason I wanted to attend the CIA was because I wanted to learn from the best culinary school in the world. I felt that I could apply to any other school out there, but I wouldn’t feel like I belonged there. CIA was the school that I believed would challenge me and mold me into a successful professional.
How have scholarships and grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
The merit scholarships and grants that I was awarded from the CIA really allowed me to dream, made my experience more enjoyable, and drove me to excel in any class. If it was not for these awards, I probably would not be where I am right now. The scholarships motivated me to stay and continue in my education.
What do you like best about the CIA?
What I like best about the CIA is the importance that’s placed on professionalism. This is not a regular college; the level of professionalism that the CIA imparts on their students is beyond belief. Many of my peers back home are surprised by how much structure there is at my school. I could not be more proud of that.
Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I am currently the president of Catholics at the Culinary. This position has allowed me to continue practicing my faith as a young Catholic by serving mass at Our Lady of The Way Chapel, which is right near the entrance of CIA! I am also a justice serving on The Judiciary Board. This position has really helped me connect with my peers and strengthened my decision-making skills.
What is your favorite dish to make?
My favorite dish to make would have to be schnitzel because my very first job was at a German restaurant and I remember falling in love with German food and hospitality.
How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
The bachelor’s in business administration degree will prepare me to lead and manage a team of hospitality professionals. I feel that the CIA program is a melting pot of topics that relate to the business side of the industry. Whether it’s budgeting an event or selling a bottle of wine to a table, the CIA stresses the importance of all business aspects.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while at the CIA?
One of the greatest lessons that I learned was at The Bocuse Restaurant. Chef Xavier Mayonove was my instructor at the time and I remember him saying, “When you go out to work in any establishment, you have to adjust yourself into that environment; you cannot wait for the environment to adjust to you.” That simple advice really stuck with me because I feel that all restaurants are not the same and it is our jobs as graduates to realize this so that we can succeed in any environment.
What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
My main career goal is to be a general manager of a restaurant. I want to be a leader that I would look up to. I feel that the CIA will help me reach that goal through management courses and developing connections with professionals who are already succeeding in the hospitality industry. I chose the concentration in Advance Wine, Beverage, & Hospitality because I am very passionate about hospitality. I recognize that wine and beverage are among the foundations of hospitality. Whenever you are a guest in someone’s home, the first thing they will likely ask you is, “Can I get you something to drink?” So, I felt that this concentration will aid in my dream of becoming a general manager in hospitality by giving me extensive knowledge in wine and beverage, as well as management techniques.
What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
My advice for new students is to think about all the aspects of your future and apply it to the school. Does it fit your desired job? Can you handle the stress in the industry? Do you want to be a leader? Do you love the hospitality industry?