Hannah Brantley is a trained chef, feminist scholar and former nutritionist. She grew up in the Midwest and moved to Boulder, Colorado where she obtained her Culinary Arts and Nutrition Consulting certifications. After working as a line cook, chocolatier and personal chef, she began a nutrition consulting business specializing in gut and brain health. She primarily worked with women with bacterial and yeast overgrowths who were also experiencing cognitive impairment such as anxiety and depression. Beyond individual nutrition consulting, she also ran fermentation and gut health workshops where participants learned how to support their microbiome and make fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. After working for several years in professional kitchens and the wellness industry, she is now primarily interested in the socio-cultural and political aspects of food practices and theory. After observing the oppressive, gendered nature of foodways, she completed her BA in Philosophy at the University of Missouri Kansas City where she began researching food from a feminist-philosophical perspective. She is fascinated by the philosophical implications of the everyday and mundane and how these contribute to identity such as race, class and gender. Some of her specific interests include making ferments such as yogurt and sauerkraut, entomophagy, perfecting her chili oil recipe and searching for the best olive oil and chocolate. She lives in Portland, Maine.
Kate Cherven grew up in St. Pete Florida and her passion for food grew slowly over the years through personal interest. She has used food as a creative outlet, a way to learn about others and a glue to bring people together. Now she is trying to turn her interests into a career. She graduated from the University of Iowa with majors in anthropology and English creative writing, and then moved to Auckland, New Zealand. After five years in Auckland, she built a career in marketing and communications within the non-profit industries. While working she joined the Cheap Eats Blog team as a writer and a content creator for their blog and social media platforms. By working on the Cheap Eats blog, Kate realised she wanted to make her hobby into her career. She applied to the MLA in Gastronomy at BU and decided to move back to the US with her Kiwi partner Stefan. She has two passions: learning about cultures and understanding the relationship between people, food and the environment. Kate is looking forward to the program, getting to know Boston and eating heaps of delicious food along the way.
Meghan Glass grew up in the suburbs of Maryland. After growing out of a picky eater phase, she eventually enjoyed exploring Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Thai food. She attended Boston University graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology and Gender Studies. Meghan then moved to Michigan for a job in health care survey design for a small company.
The food scene in Ann Arbor expanded her horizons to include the cuisines and dishes of Cuba, Ethiopia, Korea and Yemen as well as develop a love for Zingerman’s Delicatessen. She hosted numerous dinner parties and joined a jamming and canning group. It was through these communal food experiences she recognized her desire to bring joy to people through her food. Meghan completed the Culinary Arts program in the fall of 2018 and decided to continue her food education through the Gastronomy Masters program. She hopes to work in a test kitchen environment, recipe development, or reviewing restaurants professionally.
In her free time, Meghan enjoys reading, going on cruises, exploring new recipes and restaurants, as well as judging crab cakes with her new husband.
Jie Liu was born and raised in Hefei, a city in the middle east of China. In 2012, after her postgraduate study in Economics at the University of Manchester, she went back to Beijing to work in a bank.
Because she was away from home alone for a long time, Jie started to learn to cook. In 2015, She move to Boston with her husband. During the three years absent from work, she has more time to spend in the kitchen. She challenged herself different recipes every time and fell in love with baking. She found that she never miss the old days in the bank at all. She would like to do something more creative and something she is really interested in.
Jie is also a fan of documentaries about food. Her favorite is Once upon a Bite. Those documentaries reveal the connection between the food and cultures, so she is inspired to study the food as a subject. And in the future, she is looking forward to work in food media.
Stepping into the food world is a delicate decision for her. She believe the Gastronomy program can give her an opportunity to pursue her dream and eventually to make her passion into her profession.
A native of Claremont, CA (Los Angeles), Michelle-Marie Gilkeson lived in Chicago for two years while earning a Master’s in Women’s and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University. After returning to Los Angeles in 2011, she became a member of the IMRU Radio Collective, a group that has produced an LGBTQ radio show on KPFK-fm since 1974. Along with producing stories for air, she was the show director. A lifelong dancer, she was a member of Dorn Dance Company for five years, performing throughout southern California and eventually becoming the company’s Managing Director. In 2017, she and her husband left LA and traveled throughout Europe and Southeast Asia for ten months. While abroad, Michelle-Marie worked on creative writing projects and began her education in the field of Nutrition, studying remotely under Andrea Nakayama of the Functional Nutrition Alliance. She brings together her love of food and cooking, her nutrition philosophy, and her commitment to social justice to launch Dynamic Pantry, a resource for nutrition counseling and cooking workshops that keeps pleasure and connection central to discussions of health. She is thrilled to be a part of the Gastronaut community and to broaden her knowledge and skills.
Courtney Hakanson is a digital marketing consultant specializing in the development and implementation of social media strategies. Over the course of her 10-year career built in New York, and now Boston, she has worked with an extensive roster of Fortune 500 clients across the hospitality, consumer packaged goods, culinary, and fashion sectors, including Marriott International, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, David Yurman, Ligne Roset, Pepperidge Farm, Mattel, Gallo Wines, and Michelin Guides.
In addition to her job in marketing, Courtney is professionally trained in the culinary arts. In 2014, she briefly relocated to Paris to complete the Basic Patisserie intensive at Le Cordon Bleu, and subsequently continued her education at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. Beyond her studies, she has gained valuable experience through part-time work in restaurants, and has served as a professional recipe tester for cookbook editors and authors.
Courtney loves all things gastronomic – possessing a deep appreciation for everything from fine dining to street food – and has been fortunate enough to experience a wide variety of culinary traditions throughout her lifetime. Courtney is eager to develop a better understanding of the role of food in shaping societies globally through culinary traditions, heritage, access and sourcing, and hopes to pursue a career in food policy while studying at Boston University.
Stacey Terlik is originally from Western Massachusetts. This area is where her curiosity in food first ignited as she spent time with her grandfather tending to his lush garden. Stacey saw how food could not only cultivate new growth, but build community. As a Political Science Major at St. Joseph’s University, Stacey was able to further pursue her interest in food by becoming involved in food justice issues and exploring the intersections of social, political, economic, and food issues.
Following graduation from St. Joseph’s, Stacey went on to participate in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp., where she coordinated a therapeutic horticulture program at an urban farm in St. Louis. Stacey’s time at the farm propelled her into her current role in community mental health, where she works with individuals to pursue their therapeutic recovery goals. The culmination of these experiences have made Stacey realize that her passion for community and justice is enriched when she incorporates her love for food and farming.
Stacey hopes that by pursuing her Master’s of Gastronomy at BU, she can continue to uncover how to work together with communities to combat food inequality, enact change, and grow hope. Stacey’s long term goal is to create an urban farm focusing on therapy and job training that feeds into a farm-to-table restaurant to promote community building through shared tables. She is confident that participation in this program will enable her to continue to build skills that will be essential in executing her vision.