I Chose The Sweet Life, The Best Decision I’ve Made!

By the age of fifteen, it was clear to me that this was where I belonged - in a career that involved creating the most magical desserts.

As a pastry cook in New York City, my career has been shaped by my Nani (grandmother), whose love for baking and cooking was contagious. Watching her spend hours in the kitchen, experimenting with ingredients, and creating delicious dishes has inspired me to become a Pastry Chef. Her joy and satisfaction in making food have instilled in me a sense of purpose.

Growing up, I had a particular fondness for chocolates. I would eagerly sneak into my mother’s wardrobe and take a handful whenever she went out, hiding them carefully to ensure my younger sisters wouldn’t find them first.

Picking a ‘sweet’ career

By the age of fifteen, it was clear to me that this was where I belonged. After researching multiple universities, I was drawn to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for its rigorous curriculum that blended education with practical knowledge.Stepping onto the CIA’s campus for the first time was a transformative experience. As I gazed at the impressive facilities and was immersed in the energy and excitement of the culinary world, I knew that I had found my calling. Pursuing a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Business Management from the world’s most prestigious culinary school was a great opportunity.

As I delved into the program, I was challenged by a curriculum that was both rigorous and comprehensive. From foundational skills to advanced techniques, every aspect of the baking and pastry arts was covered in detail. I was inspired by the dedication of my chef-instructors, who were themselves accomplished professionals in the field.

Beyond the classroom, the CIA offered countless opportunities to gain practical experience through externships, industry events, and collaborations with renowned chefs and restaurants. I embraced these opportunities with enthusiasm and fortunately got a chance to work at Gramercy Tavern, a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City for my externship. This provided me with invaluable experience in an industrial kitchen, where precision, attention to detail, and time management are essential qualities. I was fortunate to work alongside some of the best professionals in the industry.

Taking the next steps in growing my career

When the pandemic forced me to return to India, I felt a sense of disconnection from my passion for baking. To fill this void, I decided to establish MMBaking Studio, an Instagram profile to showcase the intricacies of baking and how it blends the art of baking with the science of precision.

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During this time, I honed my skills in recipe development and learned about the critical role that each ingredient plays in the baking process. Moreover, I had time to introspect and decided to do a concentration in Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts at the California campus of CIA.

The program was designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the baking process, from research and development to packaging and retail, and included courses on advanced confections and business planning. Each course challenged me to think creatively and critically, providing me with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the culinary industry. After three months, I was ready to graduate and take the first step towards my career.

Looking back, my decision to attend the CIA was one of the best I have ever made. It provided me with the education, experience, and network that has propelled me forward in my career as a pastry cook in New York City. The lessons I learned and the friendships I made at the CIA will stay with me for a lifetime.

I landed a Pastry Cook position at Gabriel Kreuther, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, and felt like I was finally living my dream. Though my career had only just begun, I knew that I had made the right choice by following my passion. The young girl who once obsessed over chocolates now savours every bite as part of her job. I am grateful for the experiences that led me here and for the opportunities that continue to unfold before me.

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