Name: Tania Figueroa
Hometown: Athens, TX
Current city: Houston, TX
Course of study: Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
Year of graduation: 2018
Personal motto: “Always go for your goal and never give up.”
Sometimes you have your eyes set on your passion and become tunnel visioned. It takes those around you to make you realize you are on the right track when you can’t see anything but your end goal. Tania Figueroa is one of the students many have noticed making her way to her AAS in Culinary Arts.
Tania’s chefs have mentioned and nominated her because of the effort and hard work they notice in her. They say she is kind and motivated during her labs. The Student Success Counselor tells us she remembers how many odds were against her enrollment and that did not stop her and her goals to become a Chef.
“Although she’s had lifelong struggles throughout her educational experience and throughout her personal life, she persevered and did not give up when others suggested she should. She moved away from her hometown many hours away, to enroll into our school with no family around to help. Tania continues to defeat the odds and rise above any disabling barriers that come her way, and continues to attend school at CIL. She continues to try her hardest, even when she falls. I admire her for this.”
Here is a picture of Tania during the High School Scholarship Competition in 2015, a moment she speaks of as a highlight in her life.
- What was your inspiration that led you to wanting to become a chef?
When I was 12, watching as my mother cooked and baked, I began to gain interest in all the techniques involved with cooking. I also attended a HS competition which was the icing on the cake for my passion for cooking. I love the rush feeling I get when I see people try my food and their reactions to the taste.
- What did you do before culinary school?
I was working at a restaurant as a helper in the kitchen.
- If a different field, why the change?
I tried cosmetology but I realized it was not for me.
- What is the most important thing you learned so far at CIL? Do you have a specific
Being confident about myself and my edible creations.
- Describe your classroom experience / academic classes and labs/ any anecdote?
They have been difficult but interesting at the same time, but I know it will be an unforgettable experience.
- What are your projects for after graduation?
Open my own small business, if possible. Or to becoming a Sue Chef.
- What is your favorite food or beverage?
Chinese cuisine, the flavors are so different and interesting yet it is very easy to prepare.
- What is the best meal you’ve ever had? (The food, the place, the people, the experience…)
San Francisco Restaurant in Oklahoma, a Mexican cuisine which is prepared in front of you as ordered.
- What is your favorite restaurant in Houston?
Tequila Mexican Restaurant
Also, I would like to thank all of my chefs and instructors because I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I appreciate all they do for me and the patience they have for me. -Tania Figueroa