We are pleased to have another great cohort joining the Boston University Gastronomy Program. These new students have been asked to submit a picture of themselves, a short bio, and what they love most about food.
Kelsey Munger grew up in a small town outside Boston and has been working at various bakeries and food related jobs since high school. Since a young age she has also learned to navigate the food world and create enjoyable food that accommodate her food allergies. Allow her food allergies provide limitations, it never discouraged her from following the path she’s always found most intriguing. She graduated with a B.A in Sociology and a minor in Human Development from Connecticut College. During this time she worked as the head baker of the on campus cafe blending local ingredients into bakery staples for stressed out college students. She was also a selected scholar for her school’s community action program.
This passion for community engagement and food eventually collided as she completed her senior independent study in the connection between food and identity specifically relating to the Eastern Pequot Tribe of Eastern Connecticut. This was just the start of her interest in exploring food and policy which eventually guided her to the gastronomy program at BU.
Kelsey currently works as a baker at a gourmet gluten free bakery in Belmont, Ma and eventually hopes to open up her own bakery that uses food to bring communities together
Kiersten Vincent grew up in small agricultural community in Illinois where she developed an appreciation for farmers and local produce. She loves to travel and learn about new places, and understands that a great way to learn about new places is through experiencing the local cuisine and cultural dining customs. Her love of travel and maternal heritage prompted her to study German. She received her degree from the University of Illinois which included a one year study abroad in Vienna. Whether she’s donning a Dirndl and drinking liters of beer at Oktoberfest, eating a Wiener Schnitzel larger than her head in Vienna, or loving every bit of the Blues, Brews and BBQ fest in the hometown of her alma mater, she’s enjoying life through food and travel.
She sampled many different avenues through employment and scholastic courses in search of that perfect career. Though every path resulted in a dead end, her passion for food and travel consistently prevailed. She finally realized the prospect of a career that incorporates both food and travel by learning of the Gastronomy program and researching the career possibilities. She is excited to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience she will gain through the program and is eager to start the process towards a career as a Food and Wine Consultant.
Dani Willcutt hails from Michigan where one drinks “pop” instead of “soda” and one of the Great Lakes is always within close proximity. In her free time Dani travels as much as possible (always with a list of must-try local food). Her most recent focus has been on the South and, “trust me,” she says, “Cities like Charleston, South Carolina have a lot to offer.” Besides cooking and eating Dani also enjoys yoga, writing, and all things artistic. She is now learning the science of baking (which has thus far lead only to burnt toffee and granola). Since moving to Boston in 2012 Dani has served, bartended and managed her way through the city’s restaurant scene, evolving her love for the culinary world into a full blown passion. Dani is the bar director for a popular Cambridge restaurant where she focuses on classic techniques and ingredients while maintaining the restaurant’s local aesthetic. She also handles the restaurant’s social media presence and in-house marketing. This multi-level approach has played a big part in furthering her understanding of the restaurant and food industry. Dani can’t wait to begin classes at BU where she can meet and work with like-minded individuals who share her passion for the world of food.
Emily Milliken Taylor has recently moved back to the northeast from Austin, Texas, where she spent three years figuring out that her bachelor’s degree in art history was fun, but ultimately not her passion. She worked in some restaurants and met some cool people and figured out she really just wants to talk about food all the time. Her hope is that furthering her education with the gastronomy program will allow her to pursue a career that nurtures her ability to spread her passion for food to others through education, philanthropy and entrepreneurship. And it would be really great if she could focus on updating her recipe blog more often.
She currently works for Columbus Hospitality Group in the reservations office and has a truly impressive customer service voice. It’s a full octave higher than her actual voice and people often confuse her with a 12 year old. She likes taking silly photos and generally prefers frivolity. She’s not sure about this whole cold thing but she’s originally from Maine and she used to really like to ski. She does really miss Mexican food and mezcal, so she might move back to Texas someday. In the meantime she’ll be practicing her dinner party skills and perfecting her chowder recipe.
Khine (“Stephanie”) Zin Win has been inspired to enter the hospitality industry through her wanderlust and culinary experiences she has had traveling around the world. Born and raised in the once isolated Burma (Myanmar), she was privileged to be able to study abroad as an international student in other countries. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and studied abroad in Switzerland for a semester as well. At Boston University, she plans to complete the business focus area within the Gastronomy Program.
Khine has been exposed to both the traditional Burmese culture of hospitality and cuisine, as well as global professional hospitality through her work experience at a five star hotel in Burma and hospitality courses while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree. Her time in the kitchen is mostly spent with cake-flour powdered on her face and a spatula in her hand. As a foodie, her experiences have taken her beyond boundaries from experiencing barbeque snakes and spiders in Cambodia to escargot in Paris. During family trips, while her family relaxes in hotel rooms, she will be out searching for the “Must-Eat Food” of the destination she is visiting. Moreover, she is inspired by the story telling side of any food she is eating. To her, every dish comes with a story and she believes the stories enhance the flavor and experience of the dish. Coming from the other side of the world, Khine looks forward to sharing her Burmese culture with students in Gastronomy Program. Her passion to let others experience what she had experienced through her journey of Hospitality will allow her to bring out the best in everyone around her.