When did you know that you wanted to work in food?
I never really knew I wanted to work and food because it never occurred to me that it could be an option. I was predominately involved in the fashion industry throughout college - I had a few internships under my belt and was constantly building relationships and networking with people in the industry with the goal of starting at a great company after graduation. It wasn't until my senior year of college when I started thinking about what I really enjoyed doing, what I wanted to surround myself with, and what made me really happy. I really wanted to try and find a way to do what I love and achieve my own definition of success. It wasn't until my last semester of college that I realized that I could incorporate both business and food in my future career - that I could work as an executive assistant for a head chef, or in the corporate office for a restaurant group or coffee company; I think that's when my search truly began. And although it was very stressful and difficult, I am so thankful that I came to that conclusion.
How did you get your current good food job?
I found my current job as an assistant on the General Management team at Brooklyn Roasting Company on Good Food Jobs! I had applied to all sorts of places from GFJ to craigslist, to various companies' own career websites, but I would say I spent the majority of my search on your site. I would be on my phone or my laptop looking at old job post from companies I admired and would sleuth out their contact information. Needless to say, I was very persistent about finding my current home in the coffee industry! I actually applied for a sales representative position, but BRC is such a young and growing company that a kind of rotational trainee position seemed like a better fit, one where I could learn a lot about the company and how it runs on a day to day basis. I'm having such an amazing time and it's never a 'normal' day around here!
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
Although I was working in a completely different industry, a lot of my previous work experience has helped me prepare for my current job because I always functioned on an autonomous level - I took on a lot of responsibility, taught myself to be really organized and meticulous about whatever I was working on. I was also a student athlete at an Ivy League school all 4 years of college, which made me really competitive, detail oriented, and self-sufficient. I think that growing up as an athlete made me the kind of working person I am today and I owe a huge thank you to my parents for helping me stick through athletics for almost 20 years! In terms of working in coffee, I pretty much grew up drinking coffee to some degree since I was rather young. I would always dip my toast in my mom's coffee in the mornings for breakfast, which progressed to me getting a tiny bit of coffee at breakfast with a ton of cream and a ton of sugar...and I must be immune to the caffeine because I can drink a cup of coffee before I go to sleep. So I guess you could say that college prepared me for working in coffee too.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in pursuing your Good Food Job dream?
The greatest obstacle was the idea of leaving what I was already comfortable with - an industry I had experience in prior to moving to something totally different. I really enjoyed working in fashion but I think I enjoyed the people more than I enjoyed the industry, and it wasn't until I could convince myself not to pursue a career in fashion that I could really dive into the search for a job in the food/beverage industry. I can't say I ever considered calling it quits once I began my search ? once I made the decision, I was determined to get a job in an industry I was really passionate about. I am so lucky and privileged to be where I am because I've been so intrigued by the coffee industry and coffee culture for so long. I'm finally gaining the knowledge and experience I've been looking for.
What can you identify as the greatest opportunities in food right now?
I think the greatest opportunity in food right now is the fact that there are so many different areas where you can work and thus so many places where people can find a fit. I always merge food and beverage together because, as I see it, you can't have one without the other. All of my favorite restaurants really care about their beverage menus, and every café I love has really great food options. That being said, I happen to work in the food/beverage industry, but specifically with coffee. Someone else is in the food/beverage industry might be in catering, or the front of house manager at a restaurant, or an educator on a rooftop farm. At the end of the day, they are all surrounded by what I believe is one of the most important ways of understanding yourself and your interests: what you eat and what you drink.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
I pretty much do - coffee!! But in all seriousness, if I could get paid in coffee and sandwiches I don't think I would complain too much (but more money means more food!!!)