Holiday Potluck

Take a deep breath – the fall 2011 semester is almost over.

I’m sure for some of you, this semester has just flown by – for others, it’s been full of struggles that have seemed to drag on and on. I’m wrapping up my thesis project, and have managed to experienced both sensations throughout these past few months – and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But wherever you are in your final papers, exam preparation, or holiday baking, take a break and celebrate your successes this semester at our Holiday Potluck on December 16th. Join us from 6-9pm in the Demonstration Room, Fuller 117, for an evening of food, relaxation, and celebration.

How can you help? Contact Emily Olson and let her know what you’ll be bringing – appetizer, entree, dessert, side dish, or whatever else strikes your fancy. And try to relax! You’re almost finished.

On another note – if you’re a current Gastronomy student, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and thinking blogging, editing, and being creative is the most fun you can have outside a kitchen, consider applying for the Communications Graduate Assistant position for Spring 2012. Check out the requirements and responsibilities in the PDF file below, and if you’re interested in applying send your resume, CV, and cover letter to by December 9th.

Communications GA

Notes from What’s Next?: Life After MLA Gastronomy

If you couldn’t make it to our fantastic workshop several weeks ago, What’s Next?: Life After MLA Gastronomy, you’re in luck – we’ve got overviews and notes from each session, as well as links to several presentations to help you out. This workshop was designed to give students a bit of reassurance – there are a number of potential career paths available after graduation, and our alumni panel, career coach, and e-portfolio experts helped attendees learn more about how to market themselves, expand job searches, and even develop a stronger online presence.

The first section of our workshop featured three alumni members: Julia Grimaldi, Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Dairy Promotion Board, Peter Kelly, culinary instructor at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, and Kimberly Kuborn, Director of Graduate Operations at the Metropolitan College, Boston University. Each of them told their personal stories, which varied greatly both in terms of how they found the MLA Gastronomy program as well as where they’ve traveled since then, and also answered student questions regarding career choices, opportunities, and advice on how to get started with the job hunt. Some of the best advice we heard:
-Whenever possible, don’t say no! Seek out and take as many opportunities as you can, because you never know when a volunteer position, one-day event, or contact could turn into your next career move.
Stay open to new options. Consider all possibilities, combinations of your skills, and potential positions when searching for jobs – don’t limit yourself to only a few possible careers. Check every job site you can find, and stay in touch with old employers, professors, fellow students, and contacts within the industry.
Find a mentor. Chat with them about your options and your dreams, get them to look at your resume (and take a look at theirs!), and make as many connections as possible through them.

Our middle session was a presentation by career coach Matt Casey, going through resumes, CVs, and cover letters. We only had an hour, and Matt was incredibly patient with our group, answering questions and showing us a number of examples. One of the biggest things he stressed was that everything you’ve done is marketable – most people drastically underestimate what they’ve done, so take time to write down all of your experience and ideas before applying for jobs and going for interviews. Matt had a ton of great information, but here are the highlights:
Identify key points for yourself: what do you want to do every day? What are you good at? What do you want to accomplish? What holes can you fill? What are your skills? And, perhaps most importantly, what does your perfect, regular day look like? How much control do you want over time and money? What kind of work/life balance do you want? Do you want to lead, manage, advise, or champion?
Ignore the one-page resume model. This is a product of past generations – now we have more jobs, change careers more often, and submit resumes online, so they can be as long as they need to be.
Redo your resume to tell your personal story. Doesn’t need to be chronological – try organizing it by skill. Include the title you want at the top – only 20% of resumes include this, and it’s a great way to catch a potential employer’s eye. Make it creative and express your personal style – make it bold and memorable. Avoid photos.
Build a network. Contact people in the industries you’re interested in – have meetings and ask questions without an agenda, just to learn more about them and their job. Hold informational interviews to learn more about potential positions. Find networking events and hand out your business card. Volunteer. Listen – a lot. And stay in touch with the connections you make – you never know when they’ll come in handy.
Find someone you admire and read their resume, ask questions about their career history, and find a niche for yourself. Figure out how you can make yourself indispensable in your industry.
Keep cover letters short. Be bold and persuasive, and use strong phrases – “I am,” “I can,” “I will,” “I have.”

Click here to download a copy of Matt’s Powerpoint presentation: Resume Planning and Development – November 5, 2011 (v2)

The third and final session was with Colby Young, a digital portfolio scholar and research assistant. All Boston University students are able to create free, online e-portfolios through Digication, though there are plenty of other services available if you’d prefer to go through someone else. These portfolios are a snap to set up – in an hour, Colby set up most of a portfolio and talked us through creating our own. And best of all, these won’t disappear after you graduate, so you can put the link on your business cards, resume, and LinkedIn page. Make it public or private, depending on its use. Include your education, experience, thesis projects, internships, awards, videos, photographs, and whatever else you want. This program keeps things very organized, and is easy to make even if you have no programming skills whatsoever.
-Use your BU Kerberos login and password to create a new account on Digication.
-Create different sections and module to organize the portfolio however you like – experiment with different looks. Include as much or as little information as you like to enhance your online presence.

Click here to download a detailed how-to PDF guide for setting up your e-portfolio: DigicationQuickstart.pdf

From all of us in the Gastronomy program, I’d love to give another big thank you to all of our participants! The workshop was fun and incredibly helpful, and the information we received was invaluable. Thanks to everyone who was able to come, and good luck with your end-of-semester papers and projects!

The Cookbook Project

As part of our Practicing Gastronomy series, join us this Wednesday, November 30th, from 4:45-5:45 pm in Fuller 109 for a lecture and discussion with Cookbook Project founders Alyssa and Adam. Get to know this amazing duo and learn about their passion for sustainability, food justice, and food education! Plus, find out how you can get involved.

From their website:

“The Cookbook Project (CBP) is an international tax-exempt non-profit organization that combines youth education with Food Justice and the Slow Food Movement’s goals of providing access to fresh healthy whole foods while helping to preserve local food cultures.  The organization facilitates food-oriented experiential education workshops in conjunction with non-profit youth organizations worldwide. These workshops focus on using food culture as a vehicle for educating youth experientially about the connection between food, the environment, health and wellness. Topics explored include local food culture, food geography, sustainable consumption, hygiene, and cooking skills.  In addition to hosting youth education workshops CBP also train leaders of all ages around the world to be able to lead Cookbook Project Workshops where they live, work, and travel through a variety of programs.

The Cookbook Project sees food as universal, and a common ground for uniting humanity. Join us and learn how to eat fresh, cook local, be healthy, save the planet, and most importantly — play with your food!”

In addition to this workshop, Alyssa and Adam will be hosting a Creole Caribbean cooking class at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education on December 4th from 3-6pm. All proceeds from the class will go to support an upcoming workshop in Haiti, and Alyssa’s agreed to offer a discount to Gastronomy students ($50-75). For more information or to sign up, contact Alyssa and Adam through their website.

Introducing Barbara Rotger, Program Coordinator

The Gastronomy Program is thrilled to introduce our brand new Program Coordinator, alumna Barbara Rotger! If you haven’t gotten a chance to meet this talented lady, check out her introduction below, and stop by her office to introduce yourself. Welcome, Barbara!

by Barbara Rotger

I grew up not far from here in Carlisle, and now live in Melrose with my husband, our two teenagers, a cat, and more goldfish than I can keep track of. I (try) to play the piano, do quite a bit of volunteer work for my children’s schools, and, of course, enjoy cooking at home. This year I gave up coaxing vegetables to grow under our giant oak trees, and decided that growing herbs is a more viable option.

I have always been interested in food – my family attributes this fascination to the fact that they were living in cramped quarters when I was born, so my crib had to be in the dining room. (I think I was first taken to Weight Watchers when I was seven…) As an older child, my grandmother came over and cooked with me one afternoon every week. I went to Brown University as an undergraduate, with the intent to major in chemistry and pursue a career in food science. This seemed to be the only viable career option that had “food” in its title. However, organic chemistry proved to be my downfall. (Perhaps my heart was never fully invested in a career dedicated to preventing the frozen pizza cheese from turning green, or perhaps I was simply pulling too many shifts tending bar at the Brown Faculty Club.) I ended up majoring in Russian Studies, and after graduation I went on to work at Harvard University, in the Ukrainian Research Institute. Despite the fact that I was working at the Ukrainian Research Institute during the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the birth of an independent Ukrainian state, my real excitement in being at Harvard was still all about the food. Some of the first academic food studies courses were offered during those years by the Radcliffe Seminars, and I was able to use my employee benefits to enroll. I had finally found my academic home.

I eventually left Harvard to stay home with my kids for some years, but never let go of the idea of food studies. I took a few more classes at Radcliffe before that program ended, and finally, some years later, enrolled in the Gastronomy Program. It was fortunate for me that the Gastronomy Program was offered through MET college, as the part-time and evening class schedule made it possible for me to further my education, hold occasional part-time jobs, do some volunteer work, and still take care of shepherding my kids around. I used the slow-and-steady approach to the MLA, taking one course at a time. You could say I really had a chance to savor the program.

I finally finished up last spring, and am very pleased to be working now as Program Coordinator. I am in room 111 – please stop by and say hello.

Give Yourself a Break!

It’s mid-November, and the end-of-semester crunch is upon us. Papers are piling up, you have more reading than you know what to do with, and that 20-page research paper deadline is looming in a few weeks. But don’t let all of your school stress burn you out – sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself (and your studies!) is to give yourself a little time away from your work. A lot of great, food-centric things are happening this week around the city – take advantage of this gorgeous weather and give your brain a bit of rest. I promise, when you get back to work you’ll find yourself refreshed and ready to take on those papers.

Plus, later this week we’ll be launching a great contest, just for Gastronomy students. Our department needs t-shirts, and we’d love your help designing them. More information on this contest is on its way, but start thinking about what you’d like to submit and you may win a shirt of your own!

Check out some of the great events happening at BU and around Boston this week, including an outing with the Student Association on Wednesday night, and give yourself a break!



Boston Magazine’s TASTE, at the Museum of Science. Sample dishes and drinks from some of the best chefs in Boston, all while enjoying the museum. 7-10:30pm, $95 general admission.


Student Association Night Out! Join us at Island Creek Oyster Bar on 500 Commonwealth Ave and enjoy some of the city’s best cocktails, appetizers, and (of course) fresh oysters. Meet around 8pm, but come any time you can, even if it’s after your classes. Contact Emily Olson with questions.

Cultivating Food Justice book discussion with co-editors Alison Alkon and Julian Agyemen. Learn and discuss about creating a fair, sustainable food system, looking at the issues and possible solutions through a number of different lenses. 6:30-8:30pm, Asian Community Development Corporation – Community Room at the Metropolitan, 38 Oak Street, Boston. Admission is free but please RSVP online.


Food and the City, Session 3: “Access: How is Food Distributed in the City?” Featuring a panel discussion with David R. Leslie, Phil Bannatyne, and Eileen O’Shea, this is the final session in this series, co-hosted by Metropolitan College’s graduate programs in Gastronomy and City Planning. 6-8:30 at the School of Hospitality Administration, 928 Commonwealth Ave, room 110.

Kopali on Fair Trade Chocolate, with Kopali Organics co-founder and CEO Zak Zaidman. Learn about creating a company with values, and participate in a discussion of the social and environmental implications of sustainable agriculture in developing countries. You’ll even get a delicious treat, just for coming! 5pm at MIT, 100 Main St. in Cambridge. Free admission.


Beer Summit Harvest Fest, with one session Friday evening and two on Saturday. Enjoy a craft beer tasting, featuring over 50 different local brewers and over 200 beers to try. Held in Park Plaza Castle on Columbus Avenue. $42.50 session fee, buy tickets online.


Boston Food Swap! Share your own creations and swap autumn and Thanksgiving goodies with other local food creators, cooks and crafters. Tickets are free, but pre-registering is required. 2-4pm at Space With a Soul, 281 Summer St, Boston.