Dana Rivera is a 2013 IFMA Educational Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends The Culinary Institute of America and is majoring in Culinary Science. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice scholarship and future career.
What is your
major & what
made you decide on it?
BPS Culinary Science. I decided on culinary science because I am interested in the reasoning why we do the things we do in the kitchen. The science behind cooking is a subject not too often explored at a traditional culinary school, with this program, however, students are expanding their knowledge past a normal culinary student to understand the culinary medium. I interned at Mars Chocolate where I discovered the R&D world. I knew that a culinary science degree would help me achieve my career goals and steer me in the right direction where I can express myself as a chef and know how to work with my ingredients.
How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career
Because of my scholarship, I was able to continue my studies at CIA. Without, I don't know if I would have been able to stay.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in the foodservice was at a bakery in Philadelphia. I started off part-time working three days a week. Over the course of time, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience and was moved to a full-time baker during the busy holiday season.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you
My dream job would a product developer for a company. Either working with baked goods, granola bars, ice cream or candy.
I decided on culinary science because I am interested in the reasoning why we do the things we do in the kitchen.
Do you have a mentor? How have they helped
My mentor is the chef at the bakery that I first worked at. She has helped me make decisions with school and has taught me how to handle stress. My mentor has not only helped me make career decisions but has almost become a second mother to me.
What are some of the challenges students like you face
in today's world of foodservice?
The largest challange I feel that students in the foodservice industry face is the decision after graduation. As we know, it is difficult to survive on the low salary that you recieve as a line cook, especially if you want to work in a restaurant in NYC. This fact hinders the decision made after graduation, either working BOH or FOH, where you would make more money, but you're not cooking.
What have you learned that you will apply to your
I have learned to always keep learning, we are students forever.
What is your favorite meal?
Lunch. You can eat breakfast foods too!
About The IFMA Educational Foundation
The IFMA Educational Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to give qualified culinary, marketing or food science students support toward completion of education requirements. Over the years, we've accomplished our goal by providing scholarships, publications, educational programs, internships and stipends to accredited institutions and individuals enrolled in accredited institutions.
Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Educational Foundation? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.