When we launched Good Food Jobs, we carefully outlined our mission based on two important concepts: sustainability and food culture. The former gets so much play these days that most people understand what we mean without explanation. But the latter is harder to convey without specificity, because it has a variety of applications - historic, artistic, emotional . . . Christina's connection to food is a real life example of what food culture is and how it can affect and motivate people. Her savvy business idea is a manifestation of the joy she gets from sharing meals with others. If you weren't aware yet that this is a concept with real-life relevance - beyond the dinner table - we hope you'll be convinced.
What attracted you to a good food job?
Good food has never been a job. For me, it is a stress reliever and a way to relax around a table with friends and family, share a meal, a few drinks and inevitably good conversation. I get a great deal of satisfaction from those moments. After working almost 10 years in a corporate non-food job, I started a food blog and private supper club called 8.ate@eight to inject a little more good food into my professional life. I quickly realized that I put more heart into that venture than anything I had done previously. With a new awareness of knowing what it means to do what you love, I found myself on a year-long "good food job" path, that eventually led to launching my new business freshocracy.
How did you get your current good food job?
freshocracy largely started because of my supper club. For the 8.ate@eight supper club dinners, I prepare 4-course meals for at least 8 people in a very small New York City kitchen. Undeterred by the lack of counter space and mini appliances, I realized the size of your kitchen is not a valid excuse for not cooking in New York. Our busy lives often demand we take shortcuts, which may mean ordering take-out, buying pre-cut vegetables or relying on packaged meals - often at the expense of flavor, quality and our health.
With my two freshocracy co-founders, we were inspired to make it easier for busy New Yorkers to put better meals on their table. With this shared mission, we launched freshocracy - a NYC local farm-to-table grocery and delivery service. Each week we plan amazing recipes for 3 dinners (entrées and sides) and source the best seasonal ingredients from the local greenmarket (you've never tasted a tomato, until you've had one from Kernan Farms). We also provide all the pre-measured pantry items and seasonings. In a nutshell (well, actually a recyclable bag), we deliver everything you need to make a fantastic meal, while eliminating the least fun things about cooking (planning, shopping, prepping). We're committed to supporting local farms and local kitchens (our customers!), and making it fun to get a few pots and pans dirty along the way.
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
I grew up surrounded by good food. My mother is a fantastic cook and always made sure we sat around the table for our meals. I don't think I fully appreciated the importance of this until I started cooking for other people and became aware of the amount of joy and relaxation that comes from sharing a meal made from scratch, with a side of laughter and good conversation.
My Aunt and Uncle also own a small family-run restaurant called The Chocolate Gallery Café in Michigan. I've learned so many amazing things from them, but most importantly, that love and hard work are essential to a good food job. The payoffs come from customer accolades and their willingness to recommend what you do to someone else.
Every day I remind myself that it has to be our goal for people to enjoy the food that we give them to prepare at home and that they are so delighted by their freshocracy experience that they recommend our service to the person next door.
What advice do you have for others in search of a good food job?
Just start doing what you love, no matter how small it seems. For me it started with free blogging software - one year later I'm launching freshocracy with my two co-founders. Through the blog, I was able to show (instead of just tell) people that I love and am serious about good food. Because of that, I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most incredibly knowledgeable and passionate good food folks - Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of food52, Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay of the Tippling Bros., and all my favorite local purveyors that are now contributing to freshocracy - Berried Treasures, Kernan Farms, Gajeski, Grazin' Angus Acres, Hot Bread Kitchen, and American Seafood to name a few. In one short year, I crossed paths with so many good food friends and I don't discount that each experience, no matter how small, has contributed to launching freshocracy.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
Farm fresh, free-range (really free-range) eggs - the kind where the yolk is the color orange seen more often in a sunset, than on your breakfast plate. At $4/dozen, I would hope that means a whole lotta eggs!