Alumni Stories: Ana Nicole Rodriguez

When I first discovered Piquant, a blog which Ana Nicole co-runs with three other writers, I was instantly taken with the fun, colorful content. Learning that she works for one of my favorite parks (just a few avenues over from ICE!) was the cherry on top. Here's her story:  

Photo by Min Wu

What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE?

Working in a law firm! But that's in the past, let's talk food! No, just kidding. Seriously, everything I've done has led me to where I am today and I am grateful for the experience.

What was it specifically that attracted you to the Culinary Management/Culinary Arts programs?

I graduated in the Spring of 2012 from Culinary Arts, and then from Culinary Management n the Fall 2012. These programs have great relationships with industry folks. After graduation, I accepted an editorial internship at Food Arts. There I edited and wrote pieces for the magazine, while also getting to meet renowned chefs and restauranteurs. That experience had a domino effect.

Now, I am with Friends of the High Line where I support the marketing efforts of its Food and Revenue Department. We have exciting projects in the works, like a 100 seat restaurant, brought to life by the team behind Torrisi. It will be a full-service, Italian restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It’s slated to open in the New Year, and you don’t want to miss out.

Where was your externship? 

I externed at Blue Hill, with Chef Trevor Kunk at the helm. The food is unmatched and Kunk is an inspiration to work with! I am also grateful for his mentorship during my time on the line.

What have you been up to since graduating?

I am proud of my work at the High Line where I collaborate with food vendors and media to share the park's food culture with the public. I also co-run a gorgeous blog, Piquant, with my friend, Catherine Dimalla and two other writers. Piquant explores everything at the crossroads of food and design. We do Q&As, restaurant openings, and style original recipes for our subscribers. Check out our Facebook page for recent posts!


Briefly describe a day in your current working life.

I walk to work on the High Line park—such a fun perk! You might find me coordinating a photography shoot for our "Faces Behind The Food" blog series. Or maybe you'll catch me announcing a new partnership that meets our goal of supporting small, local businesses with oh-so-delicious food. I could also be spotted in the office kitchen eating a Melt Bakery peanut butter & banana ice cream cookie. (Ok, I admit it, you'll find me in the kitchen.)

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?

It’s a really fun place to work at! We have art, food (savory and sweet!), salsa dancing nights and even star gazing. If you're looking for a New York experience on the cheap or free, we're your park.

Five years ago, did you ever think you’d be doing what you’re doing now?

No way! My advice to young people is to listen to their authentic selves and don't fear the unknown. Embrace uncertainty. It is this open mentality that can lead you to amazing, never-imagined professional discoveries.

Where would you like to see yourself in the future?

I see myself continuing to write about and promote the importance of food in culture. I am not sure how that will manifest, and that’s okay. My ICE education and experience thus far are faithfully guiding me.

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