Ryan Hansen: Embracing the Team Mentality


Ryan Hansen: Embracing the Team Mentality

“Nike said it best: just do it.”

CIA Student Bio

Do you already have a degree from another college or did you previously have a different career?

Yes, I have a degree in entrepreneurship from Fordham University. After college, I was a personal trainer and owned a gym.

Why did you choose the CIA? 

“Everyone you meet wants to be here and there is a “team” mentality in classes. It can be intimidating for a student like myself who is older with amateur cooking experience—but everyone is here to help, from the students to the teachers and staff.”

I read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential last year and he mentioned CIA as his alma mater. I filed it away in the back of my mind as I went on a journey deeper into food, inspired by the book. I started trying new dishes, exploring cultures, and experimenting in the kitchen. When trying to break into the industry as a newbie, I was applying for jobs and the CIA name popped up again when talking to cooks and asking how to get my start. I did some research on a few schools and CIA kept coming back as the best of the best if I wanted to take this career seriously and build valuable skills. It was an easy decision once I started going through the process of applying and toured the campus.

How have scholarships and/or grants helped you reach your goal of getting a CIA education?

The scholarships and grants made CIA possible, and if it wasn’t for the Admissions Office working with me throughout the process and helping me find ones I could apply for, I wouldn’t be here.

What do you like best about the CIA?

The energy and passion of the students. Everyone you meet wants to be here and there is a “team” mentality in classes. It can be intimidating for a student like myself who is older with amateur cooking experience—but everyone is here to help, from the students to the teachers and staff. Plus the campus is beautiful, the food is incredible, and the education is top-notch.

What is your favorite dish to make?

Because of my fitness background, I love cooking with vegetables—for the color, the health benefits, and the skill involved to make it pop off the plate. The public has the misconception that healthy food is boring and bland, but when cooked right, a vegetable-centric dish with a side of lean protein is one of the most nutritious and best-tasting foods you can eat. And not only do you feel good during the meal, but after too. No crash or regret later!

What advice would you give to a new student or someone who is considering attending the CIA?

Nike said it best: just do it.

Ryan Hansen is a CIA student pursuing his associate degree in culinary arts at the college’s New York campus in Hyde Park. He is from Brooklyn, NY