Professional SpotlightSpotlight

As food lovers, we try to consume as many food articles and books we can get our hands on. We are big fans of Anne McBride’s writing, and we were very excited for the opportunity to talk with her about her career in the food industry and as a writer. Having grown up with grandparents who were farmers and gourmet home-cooks, Anne has been exposed to the pleasures of cooking and how food brings people together. Being surrounded by food throughout her childhood made Anne comfortable when it came time for her to cook.

We love that Anne is a constant learner and serious about her work. Not only is she working toward a PhD in Food Studies from New York University, but she is also an adjunct professor there. Additionally, Anne is the Director of Experimental Cuisine Collective and is the Culinary Program and Editorial Director for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America. In her spare time, she writes articles and books about food. To say we are impressed would be an understatement! Read on to learn more about Anne’s career, what each job entails, and the skills she believes you need as a food writer.

Name: Anne E. McBride
Education: B.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Follow: annemcbride.net / @annemcbride

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

Anne E. McBride: Making the most of all the open doors you face when you are young and at the beginning your career. Not being afraid to take risks. Not over planning the next 10 to 15 years (regardless of which age you are!).

CJ: What did you major in at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette? How did you determine what to study?

AM: I majored in print journalism, with a minor in history. As soon as I decided to go to college (only a small percentage of the population goes, in Switzerland) I never considered another major. I wanted to write.

CJ: What did your post-college journey look like?

AM: I got a job as an editorial assistant at a book publishing company working on cookbooks and travel books (I had blind-emailed them my resume and they called me a couple of weeks later) and stayed there three and a half years. It was a small company and I worked really hard so I was quickly promoted and by the end was running the editorial side, but still had a huge amount to learn. I did a quick stint in restaurant PR, then in communications at the Institute of Culinary Education for two years full time, followed by another five years as a freelancer for them. About three and a half years ago I started working for the Culinary Institute of America.

CJ: What sparked your passion for food and cooking?

AM: I grew up in a very food-focused environment but was not aware of it until time came to look for a job. My maternal grandfather in Switzerland was a farmer and we spent nearly every weekend on the farm (my very first job was picking grapes in his vineyards); he also loved restaurants and took us along whenever we were there. My paternal grandmother in France is a gourmet home-cook who plied us in foie gras, calf livers, heads-on shrimp, homemade mayonnaise, and the likes whenever we’d visit. My mother is a very adventurous cook, and my father loves great food. All this stressed, in a subconscious manner, the importance that food has in creating bounds among people, in this case my family and whoever shared our table, and how much both pleasure and culture can be communicated through food. And always seeing so much cooking around me made me comfortable cooking myself when time came.

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CJ: You are currently working toward your PhD in Food Studies at New York University. What drew you to this program?

AM: I had been looking at a variety of PhD programs, mostly in sociology, for a couple of years, but then I started working more and more around food and meeting people who told me to check out NYU. I sat in on a few classes and there was no question that I had found a home. I wanted to put rigor around my study of (and work around) food, get credentialed for my academic study of it, and commit to food as my career. 

CJ: You are also an adjunct professor at New York University, where you teach classes that include Food in the Arts: Experimental Cuisine, Food Issues in Contemporary Society, and Food Studies and Nutrition Communication Workshop. What have you enjoyed most about teaching, and though others are learning from you in your classes, what have you learned from your teaching experiences?

AM: I love being around the students the most and learn so much from them. It’s so rewarding and inspirational to see former students attaining high-level positions in the food world and achieving great things, whether in their careers or in their personal lives. It keeps me motivated and forces me to constantly see the food world from their fresh perspective, and from a scholarly perspective ensures that I am always up to date on the latest material. I like my classes to be a place of exchange—of course it’s not an entirely equal one since I grade them, but nonetheless I think that the experience is richer for everyone if they feel that they can express their opinions and ask any question they’d like.

CJ: You are the Director of Experimental Cuisine Collective, an interdisciplinary group of more than 2,500 scientists, chefs, media, scholars, and food enthusiasts that examines the connections between food and science. This sounds very interesting! What does your role as Director entail?

AM: This is a volunteer-based organization (our meetings have always been free, since we launched in 2007, since we want to make knowledge as accessible as possible) and it’s really just three of us, so it entails doing nearly everything from finding presenters and working with them on the content and format of their presentations to updating the website and communicating to our members to running errands and picking up whatever we need for meetings. We have presentations on a nearly monthly basis, with the goal of using food to better understand science and science to better understand food. Our speakers and our audience are equally diverse and the content is thorough and serious, so I always encourage presenters to speak at a fairly high level but take questions as they go to clarify what’s needed, which makes for very thought-provoking and engaging discussions.

CJ: You are the Culinary Program and Editorial Director for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America where you work on program development for industry leadership conferences. How do you go about organizing and developing these professional forums, which have included Worlds of Flavor and reThink Food.

AM: The process starts by identifying the theme or areas of focus for each program for that year, brainstorming what this means in terms of potential conference sessions, how it relates to the current concerns and interests of the food industry (all the programs I work on are for industry only), and who would be great presenters for it. Then over several months all of that gets developed further. I reach out to potential presenters, work on the specifics of their contents once they are confirmed, craft the overall program and tweak it as needed. I look for fresh perspectives, whether it’s getting experienced presenters to talk about their expertise in new contexts or finding new angles to cover a well-known subject. I spend a lot of time attending other conferences to add to my understanding of issues and cuisines and to meet new potential talent, and also a lot of time at my desk emailing people. And do a lot of research by reading books and articles on the topics of the programs I work on. It’s a combination of macro, more intellectual elements and micro details and logistics. It’s a very demanding job and because my whole life informs what I do in that role, I don’t get to clock out very often, but I wouldn’t trade any of it and a huge reward is that I get to work with amazing people from all over the world.

CJ: You regularly write on topics related to professional and experimental cooking, and have contributed to Food Arts, Gastronomica, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, and Food Cultures of the World. You write for your blog, Pots and Plumes, and you were the editor and writer of the Institute of Culinary Education’s tri-annual publication, The Main Course, for seven years, and the director of the school’s Center for Food Media between 2008 and 2011. Additionally, you have co-authored many books including Payard Cookies, Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes and Confections for Everyone, Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, and Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food. What is your writing process when it comes to articles and co-authoring cookbooks and books?

AM: For articles in particular, it’s all about wanting to share a great story. I don’t have much time to pitch so don’t write articles nearly as regularly as I’d like to, but the good thing is that I get to only focus on the stories I really want to tell. So it often starts with something in a conversation that strikes me or something I observe when traveling for example. Then I do tons of interviews and research, ending up with way too many notes, and I struggle through it all until an article I’m happy with emerges, which is often the second version of a piece rather than the very first one I write.

For books, it starts by developing a concept with the chef I’m working with or thinking of working with, shopping a proposal, and then once the book is under contract work with them on translating “chef knowledge” into home-cook knowledge. My job is to ask all of the questions that someone at home with no experience would have when looking at their raw recipes and write them up in a way that makes complete sense when you are alone in front of an open cookbook. For that I spend time in the kitchen with chefs but mostly a lot of time alone at my computer. Michael Ruhlman, the food writer, once said that your body has to be capable of being a writer, so being able to sit for countless hours, and that has always stuck with me. I can definitely sit at a computer for 18 to 20 hours a day, which is a very useful skill to have while on deadline for a book!

CJ: What top three skills do you need as a food writer?

AM: Curiosity is huge, it what keeps you asking the right questions—both the fun and the serious type of questions. It’s the base of good researching and reporting, and what ensures hopefully that you keep digging into a story and into a subject. Curiosity also is the opposite of jadedness, which is important to me. Connected to curiosity is food knowledge, or perhaps better stated as a proper understanding of the world you cover. I don’t mean that you necessarily have to have cooked in a professional kitchen, but you need to understand the world that you cover, including its business structure, whether you are covering chefs, artisans, farmers, or corporations. You need to know ingredients, cooking techniques, flavors, etc. You don’t need to be a policy or labor expert but you need to understand the current issues of the food system and know where to go look for answers.

It’s a question of respecting your subjects and also of treating food like a proper beat. And last, you need good writing skills. It sounds idiotic to even mention, but the downside of food being such a familiar, and a popular, topic is that many people feel very comfortable writing about it, and perhaps not everyone should.

CJ: Your book, Culinary Careers, is an incredibly useful read. In it you provide exclusive interviews with people in the food world. What advice would you personally give to a young person hoping to set themselves up for success in the culinary world?

AM: Always remember that it’s a small world, so work hard, don’t burn bridges, and you’ll create a solid network for yourself. You could do lots of things that will make you richer than working in the culinary world. But not many will make you happier or will let you work with better people.

CJ: With everything you have going on, how do you stay organized and manage your time?

AM: My life is run by Google Calendar and my notepad, which has a good old-fashioned to-do list I can cross off as I go. I’m also, for better or for worse, a workaholic, so I just work all the time, which is probably not the healthiest time management or organizational principle but it works for me!

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

AM: I’m trying to carve a little more time for relaxation and time away from my desk. There’s always another email to write (and no matter how hard I try I can’t keep up with the insane volume of my inbox), or more recipes to edit, or more work to do on my dissertation. So going kayaking for a few hours on a Saturday is actually good for my mental health and my productivity, not lost work hours.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

AM: Don’t stress about things out of your control. Take all the risks you can while you can.

Images by Carpe Juvenis

CollegeEducationRecipesSkills

Eating well in college is hard. French fries and ice cream are always going to be in the dining hall, so how can you resist them? You’re always in a rush and need to grab something to go. Sometimes the dining hall does not serve the meals that you enjoy (maybe you dislike Mexican food, so Taco Tuesdays are not for you).

Before you get started with the cooking, purchase a mini fridge! Although it is a $100 dollar investment, you won’t regret it. You won’t have to always look for healthy food options in the dining hall or on campus cafes because you can make your own meals. Even if you don’t plan on cooking, have snacks in case you don’t have time to eat. Keep some cheese and meat in your fridge, in case you miss dinner, and frozen fruit and Greek yogurt for breakfast. Raw veggies and hummus are good options for snacks too.

Even though college is the place where you can make the worst eating decisions, it is also a place where you can establish good eating habits for life. Here are some easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Breakfast

Avocado Toast With Chia Seeds

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 slice of bread of your choice
  • ½ of an avocado, lightly mashed with a splash of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Honey to drizzle

What You’ll Do:

  • Toast up your bread.
  • Top the bread with mashed avocado, red pepper flakes, chia seeds and honey. Enjoy!

avocado

Oatmeal With Raisins and Walnuts

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)

What You’ll Do:

  • Combine the water and oats in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Gradually stir the brown sugar, raisins and walnuts into the oatmeal.
  • Once cool enough to devour, enjoy!

1-Minute Ham & Egg Breakfast Bowl

What You’ll Need:

  • Thin slice deli ham
  • Beaten egg
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese

What You’ll Do:

  • Line the bottom of 8-oz ramekin or a custard cup with a slice of ham. Pour the egg over ham.
  • Microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir.  Microwave until the egg is almost set, 15 to 30 seconds longer.
  • Top with cheese. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Grab some fruit and nuts, and if you have time, go to the dining hall and have some oatmeal or eggs, which will fuel you until lunch. Instead of a muffin, choose a wheat or whole grain bagel. If you like yogurt, go for plain Greek, because it gives you a lot of protein and has less sugar than vanilla yogurt. If it is an exam day, grapes, berries and walnuts are good for optimal brain health and focus.

Lunch

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap

What you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast
  • Medium carrots, shredded
  • Diced red pepper
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Reduced fat Asian-style sesame salad dressing
  • Bibb or iceberg lettuce leaves

What you’ll do:

  • Stir the chicken, carrots, pepper, onions and dressing in a medium bowl.
  • Divide the chicken among the lettuce leaves. Fold the lettuce leaves around the filling. Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 14 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (2 medium)
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 16 ounce package frozen egg noodles
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (optional)

What You’ll Do:

  • In a 3-quart saucepan, combine broth, onion, carrots, celery, water, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in frozen noodles. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken; heat through.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • To serve, pour soup into bowls. If you like, sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6. Enjoy!

chickennoodlesoup

Winter Fruit Waldorf Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • Unpeeled red apples, diced
  • Unpeeled pears, diced
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Golden raisins
  • Chopped dates
  • Mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • Fat free orange crème yogurt
  • Tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Walnut halves

What You’ll Do:

  • Mix apples, pears, celery, raisins and dates in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, yogurt and juice concentrate until well blended. Add to fruit; toss to coat.
  • Serve fruit on lettuce. Garnish with walnut halves. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Instead of getting burgers in the dining hall, eat chicken or lean meats. A salad and a soup combination or a wrap will fill you up and give you energy.

Mid-day Snack Tip

It’s that time between lunch and dinner, but you’re still in class and are hungry. Have a fruit like a banana or an apple in your bag, instead of a pastry. You can’t go wrong with raw veggies.

Dinner

Pesto Chicken Angel Hair Pasta With Herbs

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

What You’ll Do:

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Cover cookie sheet with foil.
  • Put pesto and chicken in bowl. Toss until chicken is covered.
  • Bake for 20-25 min.
  • Place slices of tomato on top of chicken and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake another 3-5 min.
  • Serve with a box of angel hair pasta and herbs and French bread. Enjoy!

Fried Rice with Scallions, Edamame, and Tofu

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • ¾ cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

What You’ll Do:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot.
  • Add the garlic, scallions, and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice, red pepper, edamame, corn, and tofu and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • Make a 3-inch well in the center of the rice mixture.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, then add the eggs and cook until nearly fully scrambled.
  • Stir the eggs into the rice mixture, then add the soy sauce and incorporate thoroughly. Serve hot. Enjoy!

fried rice

Parmesan Breaded Fish Nuggets

What You’ll Need:

  • ⅓ cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup crushed cornflakes
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ pounds cod fillets, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

What You’ll Do:

  • Combine the breadcrumbs, cornflakes, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  • Evenly spritz fish cubes with butter flavored spray, then roll in the crumb mixture.
  • Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 375 ° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: For your biggest meal of the day, go with some chicken, steak or salmon with a side of veggies or brown rice. Going easy on carbs will help you stay focused, and you’ll get higher-quality sleep.

Late Night Snack Tip

Instead of getting a slice of pizza, Van recommends grabbing a low-fat smoothie from an on campus café. It will fill you up, and fruit is high in anti-oxidants, which are great for your skin.

Find food-spiration! 5 Instagram Foodies Worth Following:

When you look at your Instagram and see pictures of healthy food that is aesthetically pleasing, you’ll get inspired and maybe skip a burger that day for a grain and roasted butternut squash mix from the salad bar instead.

@thenakedfigChelsea Hunter finds beauty in simplicity

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@deliciouslyellaElla Woodward will inspire you daily to eat healthy

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@jamieoliverJamie Oliver has 3.3 million followers on Instagram (He calls himself a proud dad & chef. Unlike other Instagrammers who focus on a particular type of food, he posts a good range of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and sides.)

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@sarkababickaSarka Babicka is a professional photographer who makes a plate of salad look like a piece of art

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@leesamantha: Samantha Lee is a food artist (She makes food that tells a story!)

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Happy cooking and happy exploring!

Image: Flickr

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Gabriel Cabrera is a food and prop stylist who runs a gorgeous food, art, design, and culture blog called Artful Desperado, and we were hooked after seeing just one blog post. The photos will make you want to take photography (and perhaps even food styling!) more seriously, and Gabriel’s writing is fun, catchy, and engaging – you won’t be able to visit his blog just once.

After having studied Tourism Management at Universidad Anahuac, Gabriel received his Culinary Arts degree from Vancouver Community College. The skills he learned from culinary school comes into play every single day, whether he’s dreaming up a new recipe for Artful Desperado or for his Stylist job at Luvo Inc.

We are excited to share this exclusive interview with Gabriel, where he shares his top three photography tips, his favorite dessert he’s ever made, and an inside look on what his blog and stylist duties entail. Read on for more culinary inspiration!

Name: ​Gabriel Cabrera
Education: ​Tourism Management from Universidad Anahuac; Culinary Arts from Vancouver Community College
Follow: ​TheArtfulDesperado.com / Instagram@ArtfulDesperado
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

GAB: ​I think the process of seizing your youth never truly ends. To me it’s a constant state of mind where you must take every opportunity you can to shape your future. Seizing your youth is a life­-long learning experience through trial and error. This means you cannot give up and you cannot shy away from creative/life challenges, otherwise you will be giving up on some very valuable life lessons (which by the way, are tuition free!). Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always end up with a new skill that will help you get closer to success.

CJ: You majored in Tourism Management at Universidad Anahuac. How did you determine what to study?

GAB: ​I chose Tourism Management based on my personal interests, which are travel and food. It was a tricky choice! You know, turning something you love into your full-time job may not be what you would expect. When I chose Tourism Management I thought “I’m going to travel everywhere for a living!” I was wrong; I was stuck in an office making sure everyone was enjoying their vacations, and that killed me. Some people thrive in the service industry, but not this cat.

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CJ: You then went on to receive a Professional Certificate in Culinary Arts from Vancouver Community College. What sparked your passion for food and cooking, and what was your culinary school experience like?

GAB: ​I’ve always loved cooking. I was born in Mexico, so food is a HUGE part of our culture, pretty much every social interaction revolves around food (fine by me!). I wanted to do something with this foodie passion of mine, so I decided to take it to the next level in cooking school. I knew it was going to be hard work (despite what everyone thinks, a kitchen is more like the military than what you see on the Food Network). I had some really stressful moments where I thought to myself “why am I doing this!?!” but deep inside I knew I had to keep going. I did, and I don’t regret it one bit. I think that’s key – you’ve got to listen to your inner voice. Your gut is right 99.9% of the time and if something feels like it fits ­despite the stress and sleepless nights ­then it will turn out for the better. Trust me, your sweat and tears pay off!

CJ: You run the stunning blog, Artful Desperado. What inspired you to start your blog, and what do your blogger duties look like?

GAB: ​The blog started as a creative exercise to train myself to be more aware of what was happening in the art, design, and food world. From then on it took off and it changed a bit to be more focused on food and styling which is what I do.

My blogger duties are basically wearing many hats! Copy-writing, photographing, styling, editing, business skills (to create partnerships with sponsors or brands) and even a bit of HTML coding (for any bugs that may happen). A “day in the life of” looks like this: gather inspiration for a new post, test the recipe, gather props and ingredients, cook, style and shoot, edit, write the blog post, and promote to social channels. Mind you, due to my work schedule I currently don’t blog daily, I only update once a week­-ish.

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CJ: What is the best piece of advice you would give a baking/cooking enthusiast?

GAB​: Travel! Seriously, get out there. Cookbooks are awesome, and so are ideas from Pinterest, but traveling is just the real deal. You don’t have to go somewhere extremely expensive or exotic (though, if you can, then yes! by all means go), you can do trips in your state or province and try different things you’d never try before. Architecture, culture, nature; all of them will have a major impact on the way you see/create food.

CJ: You take gorgeous photos on Artful Desperado and your Instagram. What are your top three photography tips?

GAB: ​Top three would be: 1 -­ Great lighting. Lighting is key to achieving a great photograph, learn the basics and practice as much as you can and soon enough you’ll start seeing it everything in a different light (pun intended). 2 – If it doesn’t look good, then don’t share it­. The Internet is full of images, no need to add something that’s not appealing (there’s plenty of that already). Just Google “Martha Stewart food photos” and you’ll see what I mean. 3 ­- Experiment. Try different set ups and styles until you find the one that fits you, this also helps you learn lots about styling/photographing in different situations so you’ll become a pro.

CJ: You are also a photographer and stylist at Luvo Inc, a company that provides healthy and convenient pre­made meals that are good for you. What does your role as photographer and stylist entail?

GAB: ​My job is making sure we visually showcase our food and team recipes in the best way possible, according to brand standards and also depending on what our customers love. I also coordinate our photo shoots making sure we have everything we need: food, props, equipment, etc. On a typical week I’d be brainstorming for a shoot, hunting new props, working with our team to design a set for our “scenes,” cooking, and testing recipes, etc. It’s busy!

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CJ: What is your favorite meal or dessert you’ve ever made?

GAB: That would be a very simple and easy Mexican flan ­- honestly, whenever I make it it’s a couple hours before I eat it all. I love it because it brings back so many childhood memories and tastes like heaven.

CJ: What advice would you give to a young person hoping to set themselves up for success in the culinary world?

GAB: ​Have stamina! The kitchen is tough place. Also try to gain as much experience outside of regular work; go intern at a top restaurant or practice at home with friends and document it (these are the baby steps of starting to build your own recipes). Surround yourself with activities that will enrich your culinary style: go see some art shows, watch food documentaries and movies, check out classic cookbooks from the library. The more you know your craft, the more you’ll get noticed in the industry. Basically you’ve got to build respect from day one. Street cred, ya know!?

CJ:  How do you stay organized and manage your time?

GAB: ​I’m old-school and I use a monthly planner (an actual notebook) and a sketchbook. In my planner I put every single deadline I have and the name of the project. Any additional notes such as number of assets I need to create (e.g. number of photos or looks), shopping lists, mood boards, fabric samples, etc. they all go in my sketchbook in the appropriate project. Needless to say my sketchbook gets HUGE! But it’s nice to see all the things you done and keep all that important creative information for future projects.

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CJ: Is there a cause or issue that you care about? If so, why?

GAB: ​I’m not sure if it’s a cause but it’s something I really care about: I am pro­-food­-happiness and anti­-internet-­stupidity. The first means to be happy with your diet: don’t be vegan just because, don’t eat a bunch of meat just because ­ do it because you actually enjoy it. If you’re a concerned about the environmental impact, then make better choices such as eating cruelty free products. If you’re a vegetarian and you want to eat a spicy chorizo sandwich then do it! Whatever you choose, do it because it makes you happy.

The second is so important and I feel the new generation of youngsters need to learn more about it: everything you post online will stay in there forever and ever, so be careful and internet-­etiquette savvy.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

GAB: ​That would have to be negative feedback. As a creative I really take it to heart when someone doesn’t like my work. I’ve learned that is not the end of the world -­ different strokes for different folks, right? Instead of shutting down, I’m working on taking the bits that will help improve my work and move on.

Gabriel 1

CJ: What is your favorite book?

GAB: Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

GAB: ​I bake and/or go to take photos outside my home. Baking for me is like meditation as you’ve got to visualize your recipe, measure ingredients, etc., and the rewards are always oh­-so­-sweet (another pun!). Taking photos just for myself and not for work is also the best, a lot of times I go out and take a ton of photos and then delete them all. It’s kind of therapeutic.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20­-year-­old self?

GAB: ​Quality not quantity! Back then I felt I needed to have a lot of everything: friends, contacts, clothes. Really tightening your social life, contacts, and finances helps you stay focused on the things that matter.

Gabriel Cabrera Qs

Images by Gabriel Cabrera; profile photo by Tomasz Wagner; graphic by Carpe Juvenis

CultureHealth

You know that moment during a meal when everyone is pleasantly full after finishing their entree, just before someone reluctantly reminds the table the restaurant is closing soon so it’s time to sign the check? That soul-warming instant when conversation flows effortlessly? This moment has a name. Sobremesa (n.) is a Spanish word meaning, “the time spent around the table after dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with; time to digest and savor both food and friendship.” This word is the essence of why in an over stimulated, hectic world, it’s so important to make time to gather around a table for meals.

While I admit my love for the sobremesa is partially because I am a certified foodie, it’s even more so because the Sobremesa is a time for true conversation, an art seemingly dwindling in our generation. We are so used to texting and Facebook messaging entire conversations, that it’s easy to forget how beneficial face-to-face conversation is. While you might feel you know someone well, a deeper realm of connection opens upon seeing facial expressions, gestures, and all the multifaceted characteristics of speaking in real life.

There have been numerous studies detailing the benefits of “table time” in families and in any type of relationship. According to Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and countless other sources, table time strengthens solidarity in relationships (families, friends, sports teams, roommates, and so on), alleviates stress, improves conversation skills, encourages healthier eating, and broadens intellectual horizons by sharing and listening to different perspectives. All this while possibly exploring new cuisines!

At least once a month, my roommates and I plan a “roomie dinner” where we each pitch in to help; someone purchases ingredients, another provides his/her cooking skills, and another roommate sets the table and helps clean. We gather around the table, leaving all school and life-related stresses at our desks for a few hours to simply enjoy each other’s company. Most dinners, we will choose a meal theme – anything from Mexican to Italian cuisine. Here are a couple of our favorite dishes:

In college, it is easy to get used to eating quick meals while watching Hulu between classes or meetings. I challenge you, however, to take a break. Carve out a few hours of your time and experience just how restorative and forever calming a dinner and its Sobremesa are for the soul.

Image: FoodiesFeed

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

We are always so inspired by students who take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship while still taking classes and juggling a handful of other responsibilities. One of these inspiring students is Michelle Schechter, a current senior at Northwestern University who started the company For Real Dough. FRD takes a spin on a classic – chocolate chip cookies – and offers its customers an assortment of delicious edible cookie dough (that’s totally safe to eat!). In between classes and friends Michelle answers emails, dreams up new flavors, develops branding and packaging, and so much more. We are in awe of what she has accomplished so far, and can’t wait to see where she takes FRD next. Pass the cookie dough, please!

Name: Michelle Schechter
Age: 22
Education: Northwestern University
Follow: For Real Dough | Facebook | Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Michelle Schechter: I believe taking advantage of any point in my life is about being present. As we get older, we’re surrounded by more and more external (and largely technological) stimuli while becoming increasingly invested and obsessed with the next step, the next job, the next assignment, the next party, the next environment. I think by concentrating on being fully wherever I am and grateful for whatever that is, I have the best chance of stopping time from moving by so fast.

CJ: Why did you decide to attend Northwestern University for your undergraduate experience?

MS: At age 8, I fell madly in love with my next-door neighbor. He had his heart set on Northwestern and I decided right then and there that I did, too.

CJ: What are you studying? Do your passions for arts and cooking intersect at all?

MS: I’m pursuing a theater major, business minor, and music theatre certificate. I think I’ve realized my passions intersect more than I ever anticipated. Baking is creative and so is branding. They’re both very hands-on and experiential. And every business pitch or presentation is kind of like a mini performance.

Rafi Letzler. (Northwestern Magazine Cover)jpg

CJ: What originally drew you to cooking and experimenting in the kitchen?

MS: When I was about 6 or 7, I would present my own “Food Network Show” to anyone home who would listen. I would usually teach the viewers (my mom and dad) how to make cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. It was my absolute favorite game of make-believe. Maybe one day it won’t be make-believe.

CJ: As the CEO of For Real Dough, what do your day-to-day responsibilities entail?

MS: I oversee everything from production to branding. I’m in the kitchens once a week mixing up cookie dough. I’m also busy taking meetings, working on the website and brand design, conceptualizing flavors, and lots more. I have the help of some amazing friends and teammates who greatly contribute to the design and growth of the company.

CJ: Can you please tell us more about how FRD came to life?

MS: Yeah! I had the recipe for a few years and always loved cookie dough. But last Spring, I was enrolled in an Entrepreneurship class at Northwestern where I was able to explore the product in a more tangible way. At the end of the class, my team won a pitch competition and outside interest in the idea started growing. I decided to meet with the President of Northwestern on a whim to see if I could sell For Real Dough at the Northwestern Convenience Stores (“C-Stores”) and, after sharing samples and memories of cookie dough with everyone in the office, he agreed.

Jennifer Gamboa

CJ: How do you juggle finishing your senior year of college with friends, family, and business?

MS: It’s tough. And very busy. But I really try to spend my time and exert my energy towards things that bring me happiness and positivity. So at the end of the day, excitement and passion can overcome stress. It also helps to be surrounded by supportive and loving friends and family.

CJ: In your experience, what has been the most surprising part about entrepreneurship so far?

MS: The generosity of others. I never could have imagined that so many people would support and help turn a dream of mine into a reality. It’s been an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience.

CJ: As a self-starter, how do you keep yourself on-track with goals and deadlines?

MS: I try to determine what success means for me and keep that goal in mind with every decision I make. From there, it’s passion for the project itself. It feels good to harness productivity and love and put it towards something that I know will make me feel artistically and intellectually fulfilled.

Michelle S Qs

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

MS: Wake up, have a little dance party, work hard towards my dreams, hug the people I love, take a nap, eat a snack, sleep.

CJ: What has been the best piece of personal advice you’ve been given?

MS: Your will to live must be stronger than your fear of death. (JK Rowling taught me that)

CJ: What has been the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?

MS: You must believe that what you have to say and give to the world is important.

CJ: What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

MS: Nothing is permanent. Laugh more. Believe in yourself; don’t wait for someone else to.

Justin Barbin3

Image (top to bottom): Jennifer Gamboa, Rafi Letzler, Justin Barbin

CultureEducation

Having a support system is invaluable. However, it is comforting to know that you could take care of yourself when you need to. This is an important idea, especially in the transitional time of college. College is when people usually move from home for the first time. It is also when you find out how much you have learned all those years at home.

I struggled with this concept a little bit myself. I did not learn to cook and do laundry until I was an adult. However, I did know how to do both by the time I moved out. I did not know how to drive at the time. It was troublesome being dependent on people to get around because you never know when their kindness or availability will run out. Once I had a final exam to get to but had no ride until the last possible moment. Had I missed it, I would have automatically failed the class even though I had gotten As in the course all semester. While classes only last a few weeks or months out of the year, mistakes in the real world can have more lasting consequences.

Independence comes with responsibility. That can be scary because the weight of bad choices is solely on you. Yet, we as people grow from our mistakes. It may hurt if you do something wrong, but if you remember how bad it feels, you likely won’t do it again. As time goes by, it is liberating to know what you are capable of.

We all become independent without consciously trying. We learn to walk so we do not have to be carried. We learn to write, read, and do math in school so it is almost effortless in our adulthood. We grow at different paces, but we are all heading to the same place. The best part is that once you can take care of yourself, you can be there for someone else.

You can manifest this plan in many ways. For example:

  1. Moving away. This demands that you take care of your own home. You are also managing yourself without constant parental supervision.
  2. Learn a skill. Be it cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening, driving, or something else you need. Once you can do it, you do not have to wait for someone else to do it for you.
  3. Getting a job means you can make money. Even if you don’t know how to cook, you can afford to go out to eat. Getting a job also has the added responsibility of clients or coworkers being dependent on you to get your job done.

I hope these tips help inspire you to go after what you want and to better understand the value of independence. With effort and time, you will be capable of earning it.

Image: Unsplash

EducationSkills

I recently came across the question, “What is something you learned even though it did not benefit you?” I think all knowledge is beneficial, but it was an interesting question to reflect on. 

In college, I almost always took courses that were required. I had to commute and consequently did not want to “waste time.” However, in my senior year I took a bowling class. It was something I always wanted to do and I finally had the time. Bowling class was my favorite part of the day.

Another thing that became part of my free time was cooking. I never cooked when I was younger. Now, every recipe I learn fills me with pride. Plus, cooking gives you instant gratification with a delicious meal. If you make a mistake with the recipe, you can learn and improve. I find cooking relaxing, and it also brings independence as you do not need to depend on others for food. 

Since graduating, I have thought about learning how to sew. Sewing is just something I have always found interesting. Maybe it will become useful if I ever need to repair clothes, but for now it is just a new mountain to climb. I love that I don’t need to be assigned this hobby in order to pursue it – I can do it on my own.

The world is full of new things to see and do. Is there something you ever wanted to learn not because it was your major or because it was required? Go out and do it. You won’t know how much you like it until you try.

Image: Roger Nelson, Flickr