Ep. 29: Sarika Mehta – Cooking Up Your Dreams in the Kitchen

Today’s episode of Chasing Dreams features the youngest dream chaser ever on the show. Aimee J. chats with Sarika Mehta, an 18-year-old student at the Culinary Institute of America who is going after her dreams with everything she’s got. Sarika first fell in love with cooking in middle school. Over the years it evolved into her true passion and purpose. Sarika is passionately pursuing her dreams and shares with Aimee J. the process of figuring out her path and finding a way to go after it.

TWEET: Chasing your dreams can start at any age, on this episode of #ChasingDreams

Finding your purpose at a young age.

When Sarika first started experimenting in the kitchen, she was in middle school. She shares the process of discovering cooking and how it evolved into her true path in life. Sarika first fell in love with the feeling of preparing food for friends and family and seeing how happy it makes them. She discusses how rewarding it is to see people appreciate what she’s created. Sarika goes on to talk about how food brings together community and is all about spending time with people you care about. Her passion for food is clear, so it’s no wonder she found her calling in the culinary arts.

Choosing to follow a non-traditional path.

As Sarika’s love of cooking evolved, it became clear that this would be her path. Her parents always knew she wouldn’t follow a traditional path, like math or science, so they weren’t surprised to hear Sarika wanted to go to culinary school. They’re only requirement? That she get a 4-year degree in whatever she decided to pursue. And so, she decided to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Sarika talks about a typical day at school and how it differs from what she expected going into it. It’s surprising to learn just how academic the program is, which is something Sarika finds particularly rewarding.

TWEET: What happens when you decide not to follow a traditional path, on this episode of #ChasingDreams

Identifying your big goals as you work towards your dreams.

At a very young age, Sarika is very clear about her goals and purpose. She’s also open to the fact that her plans will evolve as she tries new things in her field. As she works towards her Associate’s Degree, Sarika believes she will pursue a career in catering, but also has her eye on opening a restaurant of her own. After her Associate’s Degree, she will pursue her Bachelor’s Degree, at which time she can choose her area of specialty. The CIA has endless options in her field, which is something that excites Sarika.

Sarika’s favorite dish and how she maintains focus on her goals.

As Aimee J. closes out her chat with Sarika, it’s pretty clear that she’s following her true path. Sarika has tremendous passion for the culinary arts and is excited about what the future holds. She shares her current favorite recipe and her take on culinary-themed movies like “Chef” and “Burnt”. In closing, Sarika shares a quote that has inspired her on her journey and one that is sure to inspire her fellow Dream Chasers. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who, at such a young age, is so clear on her purpose and passion.

TWEET: Bringing people together through the culinary arts, on this episode of #ChasingDreams


  • [0:48] Introduction of Sarika Mehta, the youngest dream chaser to ever be on the show.
  • [2:32] What was it about cooking that inspires Sarika?
  • [3:48] The process of experimenting with cooking starting in middle school.
  • [5:22] The reaction of Sarika’s parents when she showed a passion for cooking at such a young age.
  • [8:34] Were you ever intimidated to be pursuing your dream so early in life?
  • [11:07] What is a day like at the Culinary Institute?
  • [14:48] Sarika’s dreams after school.
  • [20:25] The average age of students in her classes.
  • [24:17] Sarika’s backup plan if catering doesn’t fit her life plan.
  • [27:06] Sarika’s favorite dish to make.
  • [28:05] Sarika’s take on boxed food.
  • [29:44] What do you think of movies like “Chef” or “Burnt”?
  • [36:08] One piece of advice for people who are chasing their dreams.


“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Culinary Institute of America

Sarika’s Blog

Sarika on Facebook

Sarika on Instagram

Sarika on Twitter

Recipe for Potato Au Gratin

To see a picture of Sarika’s Potatoes Au Gratin, go here  


TWEET: Identifying your big goals as you pursue your dreams, on this episode of #ChasingDreams

TWEET: Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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