Why a New York City Food Editor Enrolled in Culinary School
Culinary Arts student Sara Tane shares why she’s taking on ICE’s career training program years into her food media career.
I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d actually go to culinary school. I’ve always loved to cook, and the idea of culinary school has always appealed to me, but I never thought it’d be an experience that I’d have the opportunity to explore.
While I was in college, I was a server at a sports bar and an upscale pizzeria — each experience could not have been more different from the other. I learned a ton and enjoyed myself at each restaurant, but if there was one key takeaway from both, it was that I did not want to work in restaurants for the rest of my life.
This learning left me in a slight predicament: How would I turn my love of food and cooking into a career if I had no interest in opening a restaurant? The answer that I decided on as a junior in college was … food media! I’d still be able to use my creativity and hands-on skills in the kitchen without working in the service industry. You can only imagine just how excited my parents were when I told them I was changing my major from chemistry to food studies. Liberal arts, FTW!
With this shift in my studies, I went all in — I founded my college’s chapter of Spoon University, I created a food Instagram just for funsies, I interned at Saveur magazine, and I somehow managed to land a fellowship at the Time Inc. Food Studios. My foot had snuck its way into the door of the food media world without any professional kitchen experience. Impressive? Ehh, not really. Difficult? Very. If I have any advice after a whopping three years in food media, it’s to fake it ‘til you make it.
At the time, I considered my experience at the Time Inc. Food Studios to be an accelerated, integrated version of culinary school. I was surrounded by so many people who had attended culinary school, owned restaurants and won fancy culinary awards. In other words, they knew their sh*t (unlike me). I soaked up tips and tricks every day, and when I wasn’t in the test kitchen learning from my seasoned colleagues, I was scouring the internet for useful information to include in the articles that I was writing daily. There’s no denying that I learned a ton at this job, but at the end of the day, I was still very much an amateur. I mean, they even made a show out of my lack of professional training. Millennials, am I right?
After two years of what arguably could have been the best introductory job into a career in food media, I landed yet another dream role with Feedfeed. I am very lucky, I know! As a food editor, my role includes anything and everything from recipe development and assisting with events to content creation, including food styling, taking pictures (iPhone photography for life) and writing articles. Like my last job, I’m learning more and honing my skills every day.
So what’s the appeal of culinary school for a girl who has a job that teaches her something new every day and is surrounded by culinary school-educated coworkers that can answer all of her questions? I want to be taken seriously, dammit! I’m only slightly kidding. Because of the experience that I have, I’d consider myself to be a confident cook, but I want to better. What the hell, I want to be the best! I’m ready and willing to take my culinary knowledge to the next level. My ultimate goal in the trajectory of my career in food media is to empower people to cook, and if I’m going to be an authority on this, then I want to be educated like it.
Enter the Institute of Culinary Education. I cannot express how excited I am to be a student at such an impressive institution. I’m most looking forward to solidifying and finessing my skills, as well as understanding the “why” behind a lot of the tidbits that I may already know. I’m sure there may be a lesson here or there that might feel somewhat elementary to me because of the headstart that my job has given me, but there is still a ton for me to learn and perfect. I’m excited (and just as nervous) to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and delve into techniques, dishes and cuisines that are completely foreign to me. One of my favorite (yet equally infuriating) parts about food and cooking is that there is always more to learn. Bring it on ICE, I’m here, and I’m ready for it all!
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