April 24, 2019

The Stolt Sea Farm Scholarship: Learning About Sustainable Aquaculture in Europe

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When I first started my journey at the CIA as a culinary arts student, I couldn’t have been more excited to take cooking classes like Cuisines of the Americas, the Mediterranean, and Asia, but I didn’t expect one of my favorite classes to be Seafood Identification and Fabrication. During this three-week class, I learned how to identify and break down different types of whole fish, and I began to stay after class to help prepare tastings and cut extra fish. Even after I progressed to my next class, I continued to spend hours practicing in the fish room.

A unique culinary scholarship opportunity

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I never imagined that my fascination with seafood would translate to international travel—I just knew that I loved fabricating and learning about fish and that I couldn’t get enough of it. However, a few weeks after graduating from the CIA’s associate degree program, I found myself on a flight to Spain for the very first time, still in disbelief at the adventure I was about to embark on. I would not have been on that flight if one of the seafood chef-instructors hadn’t noticed how much time I dedicated to practicing in the fish room and encouraged me to apply for the CIA’s first Stolt Sea Farm Scholarship. As the recipient of this culinary scholarship, I was given the chance to visit four of Stolt’s farms in Spain and Portugal to learn more about the sustainably raised turbot, Dover sole, and caviar they supply to our school.

My first week studying abroad: seafood!

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My first week abroad was a whirlwind tour of Galicia, the northwestern region of Spain, where Stolt’s various farms sit picturesquely along the Atlantic Ocean. I worked with many of the company’s passionate employees, tasting different products, learning about sustainable aquaculture, and discussing environmental and ethical standards for which the company strives. As a CIA student, having spent hours fabricating and cooking with Stolt’s products, it was incredibly inspiring to see firsthand where the product comes from and meet the dedicated team behind it. In March, I also had the pleasure of collaborating with the team again during the Boston Seafood Expo, using their turbot in a cooking demonstration!

Time to explore the wines of Spain

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After focusing on seafood for a week, I turned my attention to one of my other obsessions I developed while at the CIA: wine! I had been interested in wine and its interaction with food before starting school, but it wasn’t until I went through the Wine Studies class that I developed the fundamental skills to really delve into the subject. Aside from Seafood ID and Fabrication, this was one of my favorite classes in the culinary arts program. Even after I moved on to my next class, the professor continued to mentor me and helped me arrange some breathtaking visits to his favorite wineries in Spain. I spent three days meeting with different producers in La Rioja and Penedes, tasting a fantastic variety of Spanish wines and soaking up the unique history, architecture, geography, and terroir of each bodega. I even got to saber open a bottle of Cava on top of a mountain!

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Romantic, touristy beauty shots aside, these two weeks were absolutely incredible, and I am so thankful to have experienced this country through a kaleidoscope of different perspectives. It’s a privilege to get to share my story in hopes of inspiring other students to take advantage of every opportunity you can while at the CIA and to dive deep into whatever you find interesting. You never know where it could take you!

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by Angela Peters – a recent CIA graduate who completed her associate degree in culinary arts at the college’s New York campus in Hyde Park. She is from Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Learn more about how CIA scholarships and grants can help you get the most of a CIA education, including scholarships you can apply for as an enrolled or admitted student.