Culinary Institute of America

Forum: Cake Decorating Business

So after I finish my two year college I was thinking of going to the CIA and then open a bakery after that. But now I’m starting to think that maybe it will just be a waste of money. I’ve read about so many people who are self taught and figure why spend the money when I can just practice. So I want to know if any of you who own a bakery are self taught? Or do you think going to the CIA would be worth it? Thanks! :)

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4 Replies

miettes ...

I did not go to the CIA but wanted to desperately when I was living in the US, but did not have the opportunity unfortunately! What I do is a hobby and my personal opinion is, being a professional by going to the CIA, you gain a lot more experience than being self-taught. Going to the CIA not only teaches you to bake/cook; it also teaches everything from food safety to running a business to techniques that are a must… So, I say, if you want to open your own shop, go to CIA… What if you want to have some experience first before opening your shop? With a degree from CIA, you have a lot of doors open :-)

That’s only my humble opinion, one in many I hope you will get!

Xclusive ...

I am self taught as well, mind you i have a first degree in food technology and this has given me a lot of insight into the world of cake making & decoration. I see beyond the cake, I see the reactions between the components/compounds & am able to pin point when something goes wrong or fashion out alternative routes to getting things done. I strongly advice you go for the programme dear, view it as an investment. You will be reaping the benefits in the very near future. All the best dear.

Jenniffer White ...

I wound up getting a job in a bakery and working there for about 8 months before opening my own bakery. I really couldn’t afford to not work and pay to go to school, so this was the next best thing. They worked me like a dog, but I learned SO much about not just baking, but the business side as well.

Kara's Couture Cakes ...

Hi Megan!

I am a two time graduate of The Culinary Institute of America (AOS in 2010, Bachelors in 2012) and was in your exact position in 2008 when I decided baking and owning my own business was what I wanted to do.

I realized that I didn’t have the foundational knowledge to successfully open and profitably operate my own place, so school was my decision. It wasn’t easy, as I am married and at that time had two young boys (4 and 18 months) that I had to move to the area and parent along with getting my desired education.

Really, it’s all about your perspective. I have an enormous amount of loans to repay, though half of my school costs were covered by my academic scholarships. They have tons of aid available if you keep your grades up and apply. You have to be dedicated and determined to get the most out of your education, but there are lots of requirements of their students that really separates those who kinda like it from those that are going to take the industry by storm.

The knowledge, experiences and international connections I made through spending 3.5 years there are invaluable. You’ll learn more than just decorating, and being successful in owning your own business isn’t just about making beautiful cake. You need professional skills, business knowledge, management skills, marketing, etc… You’ll get those things a little in the AOS portion of the program, but you’ll be submerged in it in the Bachelors if you decide to continue on.

I suggest a proper education, and if The CIA is your school of choice, jump in. Don’t look back, just go head first with determination. You’ll get the best culinary education in the world and you won’t regret the innumerable paths and avenues available to you from your time spent there.

Feel free to email me any questions you may have about being a student there. I’m a strong advocate of education and I’m happy to discuss why!