Meet Spring 2015’s New Gastronomy Students, Part II

We are pleased to have another great cohort  joining the Boston University Gastronomy Program. These new students have been asked to submit a picture of themselves, a short bio, and what they love most about food.

kelsey mungerKelsey Munger grew up in a small town outside Boston and has been working at various bakeries and food related jobs since high school. Since a young age she has also learned to navigate the food world and create enjoyable food that accommodate her food allergies. Allow her food allergies provide limitations, it never discouraged her from following the path she’s always found most intriguing. She graduated with a B.A in Sociology and a minor in Human Development from Connecticut College. During this time she worked as the head baker of the on campus cafe blending local ingredients into bakery staples for stressed out college students. She was also a selected scholar for her school’s community action program.

This passion for community engagement and food eventually collided as she completed her senior independent study in the connection between food and identity specifically relating to the Eastern Pequot Tribe of Eastern Connecticut. This was just the start of her interest in exploring food and policy which eventually guided her to the gastronomy program at BU.

Kelsey currently works as a baker at a gourmet gluten free bakery in Belmont, Ma and eventually hopes to open up her own bakery that uses food to bring communities together

kierstenKiersten Vincent grew up in small agricultural community in Illinois where she developed an appreciation for farmers and local produce. She loves to travel and learn about new places, and understands that a great way to learn about new places is through experiencing the local cuisine and cultural dining customs. Her love of travel and maternal heritage prompted her to study German. She received her degree from the University of Illinois which included a one year study abroad in Vienna. Whether she’s donning a Dirndl and drinking liters of beer at Oktoberfest, eating a Wiener Schnitzel larger than her head in Vienna, or loving every bit of the Blues, Brews and BBQ fest in the hometown of her alma mater, she’s enjoying life through food and travel.

She sampled many different avenues through employment and scholastic courses in search of that perfect career. Though every path resulted in a dead end, her passion for food and travel consistently prevailed. She finally realized the prospect of a career that incorporates both food and travel by learning of the Gastronomy program and researching the career possibilities. She is excited to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience she will gain through the program and is eager to start the process towards a career as a Food and Wine Consultant.

daniDani Willcutt hails from Michigan where one drinks “pop” instead of “soda” and one of the Great Lakes is always within close proximity. In her free time Dani travels as much as possible (always with a list of must-try local food). Her most recent focus has been on the South and, “trust me,” she says, “Cities like Charleston, South Carolina have a lot to offer.” Besides cooking and eating Dani also enjoys yoga, writing, and all things artistic. She is now learning the science of baking (which has thus far lead only to burnt toffee and granola). Since moving to Boston in 2012 Dani has served, bartended and managed her way through the city’s restaurant scene, evolving her love for the culinary world into a full blown passion. Dani is the bar director for a popular Cambridge restaurant where she focuses on classic techniques and ingredients while maintaining the restaurant’s local aesthetic. She also handles the restaurant’s social media presence and in-house marketing. This multi-level approach has played a big part in furthering her understanding of the restaurant and food industry. Dani can’t wait to begin classes at BU where she can meet and work with like-minded individuals who share her passion for the world of food.

emilyEmily Milliken Taylor has recently moved back to the northeast from Austin, Texas, where she spent three years figuring out that her bachelor’s degree in art history was fun, but ultimately not her passion. She worked in some restaurants and met some cool people and figured out she really just wants to talk about food all the time. Her hope is that furthering her education with the gastronomy program will allow her to pursue a career that nurtures her ability to spread her passion for food to others through education, philanthropy and entrepreneurship. And it would be really great if she could focus on updating her recipe blog more often.

She currently works for Columbus Hospitality Group in the reservations office and has a truly impressive customer service voice. It’s a full octave higher than her actual voice and people often confuse her with a 12 year old. She likes taking silly photos and generally prefers frivolity. She’s not sure about this whole cold thing but she’s originally from Maine and she used to really like to ski. She does really miss Mexican food and mezcal, so she might move back to Texas someday. In the meantime she’ll be practicing her dinner party skills and perfecting her chowder recipe.

khineKhine (“Stephanie”) Zin Win has been inspired to enter the hospitality industry through her wanderlust and culinary experiences she has had traveling around the world. Born and raised in the once isolated Burma (Myanmar), she was privileged to be able to study abroad as an international student in other countries. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and studied abroad in Switzerland for a semester as well. At Boston University, she plans to complete the business focus area within the Gastronomy Program.

Khine has been exposed to both the traditional Burmese culture of hospitality and cuisine, as well as global professional hospitality through her work experience at a five star hotel in Burma and hospitality courses while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree. Her time in the kitchen is mostly spent with cake-flour powdered on her face and a spatula in her hand. As a foodie, her experiences have taken her beyond boundaries from experiencing barbeque snakes and spiders in Cambodia to escargot in Paris. During family trips, while her family relaxes in hotel rooms, she will be out searching for the “Must-Eat Food” of the destination she is visiting. Moreover, she is inspired by the story telling side of any food she is eating. To her, every dish comes with a story and she believes the stories enhance the flavor and experience of the dish. Coming from the other side of the world, Khine looks forward to sharing her Burmese culture with students in Gastronomy Program. Her passion to let others experience what she had experienced through her journey of Hospitality will allow her to bring out the best in everyone around her.

Spring 2015 Course Profile: Archaeology of Food

Dr. Karen Metheny, Lecturer in the MLA in Gastronomy Program, has planned several guest lectures and workshops in conjunction with her spring 2015 course, Archaeology of Food.

mount vernon
Archaeological site in Mount Vernon (credit:

The first of these special programs, paired with the Pépin Lecture Series, is a Whiskey-Tasting Program with Luke Pecoraro, Senior Archaeologist at Mount Vernon. Drawing from the archaeological records of known whiskey production sites, Pecoraro will offer a brief introduction to distilled products made in colonial America, with specific reference to George Washington’s distillery. A five-still commercial operation on one of Washington’s farms from 1797 to circa 1802, the distillery burned to ground in 1814, and was lost until re-discovered by Mount Vernon archaeologists in 1997. Intensive excavations uncovered the entire structure, revealing information about the layout of the stills, drains, and living quarters, and sparking renewed interest in spirits distillation in America. The recently reconstructed distillery is one of the few places where whiskey is made just as it was in the early Republic. The recipe for Washington’s whiskey survives, and is faithfully reproduced in small batches, twice a year, at the distillery. Following the lecture students will have the opportunity to taste five whiskeys.

Paula prepares Plymouth Succotash for a program in 2013 (credit:

Later in the semester, students will participate in a day-long, hands-on workshop on Succotash, a Native American dish that has become inextricably linked to colonial New England foodways and to regional traditions associated with Forefathers’ Day, a celebration of the founding of Plymouth Colony. The workshop will be led by Paula Marcoux, a food historian and archaeologist, author of Cooking with Fire, editor of Edible South Shore and South Coast, and a craft artisan/instructor for the Plymouth Center for Restoration Arts and Forgotten Trades. Paula is a frequent lecturer on the topic of vernacular foodways. Her research on succotash draws upon manuscript receipt books and print cookbooks in the archives of the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. Students will have the opportunity to hear about her research as they prepare the ingredients for succotash using the recipe of Frona Spooner (1831- 1917), a resident of North Street in Plymouth.

Archaeology of Food (MET ML 611 A1) introduces students to the archaeological study of food in prehistoric and historic-period cultures, with a specific focus on how food was obtained, processed, consumed, and preserved in past times, and the impact of diet upon past human populations in terms of disease and mortality. Students will learn how archaeologists use a wide range of artifacts, plant remains, human skeletal evidence, animal remains, and other data to recover information about food use and food technology over time. This introduction will be followed by a survey of the archaeological evidence of food procurement, processing, and consumption from the earliest modern humans to early farmers to more recent historical periods. Key topics will include the domestication of plants and animals, feasting, the role of households in food production, and the archaeological evidence for gender and status in cooking, preparation areas, serving vessels, and consumption.

Enrollment in this class is open to qualified non-degree students, who are encouraged to contact to inquire about registration. Classes will be held on Monday evenings, beginning January 26.



Meet Spring 2015’s New Gastronomy Students

With a new year comes a new semester of food studies at Boston University, as well as a new batch of food-lovers embarking on their journey as future food scholars. We are pleased to have another great cohort  joining the Boston University Gastronomy Program. These new students have been asked to submit a picture of themselves, a short bio, and what they love most about food.

ClaribelClaribel Alvarado was born in the Dominican Republic, but has lived in New York City more than half her life. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from New York City College of Technology (City Tech) with a concentration in the culinary arts. While a student at City Tech, she was awarded an opportunity to study abroad at CFC Mederic Ecole Hoteliere de Paris Jean Drouant. Upon completion of her study abroad program, she was awarded a Certificate in French Culinary History and Techniques. The economic uncertainties of the last few years persuaded her not to leave the secure benefits guaranteed by public service. She currently works for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) which is the furthest thing from the culinary world.

Claribel writes “I love my job, but I have a passion for food and cooking. I subscribe to several culinary publications. I love trying new recipes and putting my own spins to it, experimenting with flavor, ingredients, how to balance aroma and taste. I love eating out, and living in NYC provides an amazing array of the best cuisines representative of the world. I’m looking forward to completing the Certificate in Food Studies and make myself eligible to enroll for the Master’s in Gastronomy. I would like to teach culinary arts to underprivileged and at risk teens and also own a small café or restaurant.”

JamesJames Martin Moran is a Massachusetts native, amateur photographer, avid traveler, and typical foodie. The evolution of his interest in all things food started when he was fresh out of Boston College: he simply wanted to learn how to cook for himself. Since then, he has filled a floor-to-ceiling bookcase with timeless cookbooks ranging from Julia Child and Craig Claiborne to Alice Waters and America’s Test Kitchen.

In 1992, James moved to Los Angeles, officially as a Ph.D. student in Cinema-TV at USC, but in his spare time, he enrolled in a Professional Chef certificate program at the Epicurean School. Although the credential paved the way to work in a kitchen, his career goals leaned more toward working with both food non-profits and the food industry as an advisor mediating between big food profits and slow food culture. In 2008, he moved back to Boston and started volunteering at Community Servings, Cooking Matters, No Kid Hungry, and Mass Farmers Markets. Working in marketing at the time, he decided to earn a Certificate in Nutrition for Communications Professionals from Tufts. Now, as a consultant with the Foodscape Group, a nutrition strategy advisory firm, he is excited to continue my food education in the Gastronomy Program.

JerrelleJerrelle Guy was born to a creative family in sunny South FL. After spending much of her adolescence writing poems, painting, making short films, and pausing in between to devour food to fuel more artistic creations, she soon identified herself as an artist fostered by the magic of food. With her finger, literally, in one too many pies, she moved to New England to get her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

For Jerrelle, food has become inseparable from art.  She turned nearly every RISD assignment into a commentary on food.  She studied in Rome under the guise of learning ancient Italian architecture, but technically spent more time at the local pizzeria. She started a food blog, Chocolate for Basil, where she began showcasing her food illustrations alongside recipes. And after graduating, she moved to Dallas, Texas and used her design degree to work with Commercial Photographers and Stylists specializing in Food Advertising.

Her passionate spirit, impulsive behavior, and voracious appetite have landed her in front of so many delicious plates, and eventually, of course, in front of the application site for BU’s Gastronomy Program. Her plan now, is to discover more avenues where food and design intersect, and possibly even help carve some new pathways herself.

JamieJamie Schwarcz was born on Long Island, NY where she spent her childhood frequently visiting New York City with her father. During their visits, her love of all things food, wine, and cooking began to develop. She loved talking with her father about the ingredients and history behind each dish they were enjoying. When she was not learning from her father, she was spending time in the kitchen with her Hungarian grandmother making sure that every family recipe was accounted for.

Jamie obtained her undergraduate degree from Boston University and currently spends her days supporting the Boston University SAP Payroll System. She enjoys traveling to foreign places and learning about the local culture (especially experiencing the local cuisine), trying new restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. She is looking forward to exploring her passion of all things culinary and meeting the BU Gastronomy community.

girlRachel Sholtes is on a mission to sniff, chew, slurp, touch, and talk about every possible type of cuisine. While her academic history lies in English literature and creative writing, what really motivates her to get up in the morning is the prospect of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. So far she has managed to eat in 29 US states and 10 different countries, and hopes that the list continues to grow. Prior to relocating to Boston in November of 2014, Rachel worked for years with Counter Culture Coffee as a barista at a locally owned bakery in Baltimore. Since heading up North she has shifted her focus towards a different end of the beverage spectrum, joining a small Boston-area wine shop as a sales associate. Immensely interested in region-specific food histories, she has loved learning about the world of wine so far and looks forward to continuing her food education through every possible outlet.

Rachel is thrilled to be a part the Gastronomy program and hopes that it will facilitate her passion for eating, cooking, and storytelling, as well as help further her understanding of food sciences and the history of agricultural practices. She hopes to one day combine these myriad interests into a career that involves writing, recipe development, and advocating sustainable lifestyles for urban environments.

rachelRachel Beebe has lived on Boston’s South Shore for just nearly two and a half decades. She discovered her culinary prowess in the backyard when, at the young age of two, she decided to bread earthworms in sand and serve them with a side salad from the compost bin. Her dishes have grown to include actual edible items since then and her ambition and adventurous spirit with all things food have endured.

Like many who graduate from college with a liberal arts degree (UMass Boston, Anthropology), Rachel has spent a great deal of time figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up. She discovered BU’s Gastronomy program while still an undergrad and, after a brief hiatus following graduation, she decided it was the next step in the whole figuring-out-life process. During her days Rachel works at a cookbook publisher where she definitely lingers too long perusing the inventory for inspiration and enjoys evenings spent unwinding at the cutting board with a glass of wine close by. She loves produce shopping, mincing garlic and watching reruns of The French Chef. She is most excited to meet new people who share her obsession with food and to see what path her studies might lead her.

JulietJuliet Tierney is a native Bostonian who decided to pack up and head out west to get her undergraduate degree in History and Sociology at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Between hiking the flatirons with her Portuguese Water Dog, Lucy, and attending CU-Buffs football games, Juliet was bartending at local bars and country clubs where she gained a passion for wine and craft beer. Hailing from a large Italian and Irish family, Juliet grew up watching Julia Child every Sunday morning on PBS and lovingly gained the nickname from her siblings, “Juliet Child.” Her prized possession at the age of 6 was a recipe autographed by the cooking guru herself. When she’s not posted up at America’s Test Kitchen in the customer service department, Juliet can be found going to wine tastings, walking around Brookline with Lucy, and perfecting her grandmother’s eggplant parmesan recipe (which she has decided will never happen).