Alumna Profile: Sydney Oland

by Lucia Austria

When it comes to careers in food, Sydney Oland is a renaissance woman. All signs pointed to food after graduating from the University of Toronto with degrees in Studio Art and English. “Most of the art installations I was doing revolved around food.” It became a passion she knew she had to pursue.

Sydney OlandBefore enrolling in the Gastronomy program at BU, Sydney took classes at The Cambridge Culinary School of Arts where she cultivated her interest in cooking. “I was looking to get more involved in food, to study food on a physical, interactive level.” Sydney then worked as an intern for the renowned recipe magazine, America’s Test Kitchen based in Brookline, MA. There, Sydney honed her recipe development and writing skills.

While at Boston University, Sydney focused her research on food history and gender. She presented a paper on the topic of gender dynamics in professional and domestic kitchens at the 2009 Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) conference at Penn State. Her program thesis chronicled the once controversial but now forgotten oyster wars of the eastern United States that occurred between mid-19th to mid-20th century. “These wars were all over the newspapers for over 100 years! There were pirates and gunfights…really exciting stuff.”

After graduating in 2009, Sydney satiated her craving to learn more about food by working as a cheesemonger for Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA, and free-lancing as a food writer. She passed down her practical food knowledge to others as an instructor at Create A Cook in Newton, MA. She then moved on to work as a Product Development Chef for Nestle in Haverhill, MA. Sydney has since plunged into the sweet world of chocolate as a Chocolate Maker for Taza Chocolate, Somerville MA. She also has two reoccurring columns with “Serious Eats,” testing and writing delectable brunch and supper recipes, from scotch eggs to beer braised pork shanks. Follow Sydney on “Serious Eats” or her personal blog, “Eating Nose to Tail.”

Sydney is still tuned into food and academia. She’ll be presenting a paper at this year’s ASFS conference at NYU . “I’m looking at the television show 30 Rock and the main character Liz Lemon’s relationship with food and how that might reflect the relationship between modern women and food.”

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