Pragya Arora – Student Bio


Photo of CIA student, Pragya Arora

“Learning from the best chefs around the globe has made me confident and aware of the ancient and modern techniques, thus making me ready to stand apart in the market. Working in the restaurants on campus has also made me confident in handling the front of the house.”

Major: Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts
Campus: Hyde Park, NY
Hometown:
New Delhi, India

How did you become interested in food?
Coming from a Punjabi family that is fond of relishing the cuisines around the world made me fascinated; not only in trying those cuisines but also in learning how to make them. I always helped my mom and my grandma while they baked and made various jams and chutneys.

Why did you choose the CIA?
I started baking at the age of 13 after helping my mom and grandma from the age of 6 in the kitchen. In 11th grade, I introduced my homemade delicacies to the public via the Christmas Carnival. The response was overwhelming and led to my opening a home bakery, Maitre Patissier. Everything was made on order and people started supporting and loving me more, which increased my passion day by day. After making around 100 cakes, I needed to upgrade my skills and introduce something new to the Indian market. So I started searching the top colleges for baking and pastry and landed at the CIA.

How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?
Honestly, the CIA does not offer many scholarships for the international students. But I don’t regret investing in this college as I have gained the best skills to earn way more than I invested.

What do you like best about the CIA?
Not compromising on the quality of education—from getting rare ingredients shipped from any part of the globe to learning French techniques from French chefs.

Do you belong to any clubs or participate in any activities/sports on campus?
I was a part of the Masala club. We hosted a lot of Indian festivals and street food fairs.

What is your favorite dish to make?
If it comes to baking, I love decorating cakes. It helps me to de-stress myself and widens my range of creativity. In Indian desserts, I love making kheer as I grew up eating it on every special occasion.

How has your CIA education prepared you for the business side of food?
Learning from the best chefs around the globe has made me confident and aware of the ancient and modern techniques, thus making me ready to stand apart in the market. Working in the restaurants on campus has also made me confident in handling the front of the house.

What are the best lessons you’ve learned while at the CIA?
To be calm and composed, and to always embrace the opportunities that God gave you.

What are your career goals and how will your CIA education help you get there?
I always wanted to open my own bakery or venture that brings forward all the forgotten ancient desserts. The CIA has given me all the skills to help me succeed and grow in providing the world with the best.

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?
Working hard and being organized is the key. Take it day-by-day; do not stress out about your future. God has planned the best for all of us.