Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student

Back again, for real this time!


Hi everyone! I know, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything on here, but I just wanted to give you guys an update as to what’s going on.

I’m currently 5 months deep into my internship at Honest Cooking Magazine and I’ve been having a blast! It’s such a great experience. I’ve learned so much about editing articles, finding cool stories to write about, conducting interviews and of course, sampling some of the most amazing food and drink I have ever tasted. Now, a little background on where I work!

Honest Cooking is a small, young startup that is still growing. We’ve done big events in the past and are in the middle of planning events for the future so it’s always a busy time at the office. There’s only a handful of us so far, but it’s good because we get to know each other and build close working relationships. We’re always looking for the next big food story or recipe, so if you have any to share, please do so!

Honest Cooking is actually divided up into 3 different websites:

  • Honest Cooking, the main hub
  • Alimentari, the Italian-themed website (the one I work on the most)
  • Pair, the site dedicated to drinks, cocktails and wine

I’ve written for all three websites in some capacity, but Alimentari is the one I write for the most, partly because it’s what I was assigned and partly because I love Italian food. It’s been a wonderful experience and I hope I get to stay on permanently!

Now, what does that mean for entries and updates here? Well, it means that they will happen…whenever I have time sadly. I know, it’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but it’s all I can manage with the schedule I have at the moment. BUT, I will be cross-posting stuff I work on to here a few days after they get posted, so keep your eyes out for links! I’ll also be posting up more original content as well so don’t you worry. Thanks for sticking around for so long and despite so many weird delays! I’ll leave you with a list of everything I’ve written for my internship so far!

Honest Cooking Articles
Alimentari Articles
Pair Articles


Food Bites: Results of my Stage

A while ago, I posted an entry about the importance of a stage and how it could very well net you a job if you played your cards right. Well, I am happy to report that I did indeed get the job I did the stage for. It’s the Southfield Store in Southfield, MA so if you’re in the area, feel free to stop by!

My day started at 8:30AM on the nose. I met with Chef Perreault right away. She presented me with a list of what she wanted done that day, a recipe and ingredients list for each product and then proceeded to give me a tour of the place. It’s a really nice cafe/bakery, albeit a tad far removed from any nearby towns. Heck, my Blackberry had no signal at all while I was in Southfield. But that really didn’t matter much. As soon as the tour was over, she showed me to my station and my work day began. The work was very straight forward and simple enough. I was in full production mode and loving every minute of it. It’s funny. Every chef I’ve had at the CIA so far (with the exception of one) has said that working quietly and with no background music or noise will result in a better product and more focused workers. But, chef had the radio going all day and I found myself singing along to songs as I was working, with no ill effects. I felt right at home in that kitchen.

I worked from 8:30AM straight until 3:30PM stopping for only a quick break for lunch. At the end of the day, chef pulled me aside and took me into her office. She thanked me for stopping in to work. She was really impressed by my overall attitude and my work ethic and said that she’d love foe me to spend my externship there. I could barely contain my excitement. So, here I am, back home in NJ for now as I search for apartments in MA and waiting for the call to battle, as it were.

To anyone going in for a stage, I can give you these tips:

  • Be friendly
  • Work quickly and diligently
  • DO NOT be afraid to ask questions
  • Double check your recipes and make sure everything is scaled properly before you proceed
  • HAVE FUN (cannot stress this point enough)

Good luck to all of you who are searching for jobs of internships now!

Life In The CIA: Externship

Anton Plaza just in front of Roth Hall, the main hall of the CIA.“Externship” is a term that confuses a lot of people, both at the CIA and those who don’t go to the CIA. The one phrase I hear the most when I mention the CIA externship program is: “Is that like an internship?” Yes. Yes it is. In fact, it’s exactly like an internship, but at the same time, it is much more important than an internship.Allow me to explain.

The externship program lasts 6 months and is essentially counted as a class block, even though you’re not at school. In fact, in the extern manual the school give you, there are assignments for you to do. Yeah it’s a little annoying, but it is for your own benefit; your personal education is in your own hands, which I personally really like. Oh, and if you don’t complete the manual, you can’t graduate. Incentive! So, it’s plain to see that the assignments in the manual are indeed worth your time and effort on many levels. I personally cannot wait for my externship period to arrive (Feb. – Aug.). It’s going to be such a great experience and if you do come to the CIA, I hope your externship is exciting and productive! Now, some tips passed onto me from chefs regarding externship:

  • “Don’t go home.” Externship is supposed to prepare you for living and working on your own out in the industry, after graduation. You may think that getting an externship close to your home to save on money, gas and other travel costs. DON’T DO IT. You’ll end up spending more money at home and lose out, especially if it’s an unpaid externship.
  • “Go somewhere you’ve never been to before.” As I’ve said earlier, externship is a growing experience. No sense in staying in your comfort zone for 6 months. Honestly, it’s going to get boring for you if you do. Get out there and explore!
  • “Make plenty of connections before, during and after.” 90% of the time, your extern site will become a future employer. If that’s the case, make plenty of connections within the establishment. Get to know people. And even if you don’t end up working for your extern after graduation, it’ll still be a great contact within the industry, as well as a fantastic resume builder. Above all, it pays to make good contacts and befriend everyone you work with and work for. Which brings me to my next point…..
  • “Loose the attitude.” CIA students have an unsettling attitude when they go out on externship, and I’ve heard this from so many chefs and faculty that I’ve taken it upon myself to avoid doing this when I go out on extern. The attitude everyone’s speaking of is the cocky, know-it-all, snobby, “I’m better than you are” kind of attitude that many CIA students bring with them to extern. This kind of attitude is such a bad thing to have on extern. You’ll burn so many bridges and quickly. You’ll practically ruin any and all chances you may have to get a job with that establishment in the future. Here’s the deal: everyone does everything a little different than you’ll be taught at the CIA or any culinary college for that matter. That’s the reality of the industry. Respect those who have a successful and established business because no matter how much they differ from what you’ve been taught, DON’T SAY ANYTHING. If anything, just ask why it’s so different. Take it as a learning opportunity. DO NOT say “That’s wrong” or “That’s not what I was taught.” It’s a great way to get you fired.

I hope this advice has been helpful to you. Best of luck on your extern/job searches! And as always, post a comment or email me if you have any more questions! I’ll be doing a MWF update schedule, so I’ll see you Wednesday!