New Gastronomy and Food Studies Students, Spring 2021 — part 2

We look forward to welcoming a wonderful group of new students into our programs this spring. Enjoy getting to know a few of them here.

Clarissa Rosinski is from sunny Riverside, California where many of her fondest family memories were related to food. She spent a lot of time as a child in the kitchen with her great grandmother preparing fresh tortillas, refried beans, and sopas. It was with her nana that she spent time baking loaves of bread, cakes, cookies, and pies. The ideas of food, family, and culture have been interwoven ever since.

Clarissa left home at 19 years old to enlist into the United States Air Force. She joined with two goals in mind; see the world, and graduate college.  She has done just that.  Eighteen and a half years later and she has been stationed in 7 countries, visited over 32 more, and enjoyed the experiences of countless cities. Her job in the military is Services, which mainly focuses on Foodservice and lodging hospitality. Interestingly, this led her to complete her B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Northern Arizona University.

Her passion for food has always been there, but it wouldn’t be until she was in her 20s that she started to realize the truth: Food may be sustenance, but it also brings you memories and experiences with others. It’s a language of its own, but also an art.  Not everyone gets it.  Clarissa did not see this immediately, but she has finally realized her truth.  Food is nature, it’s beauty, its art.

As Clarissa nears the end of her Military career, she looks forward to what lies ahead. She is excited to be pursuing the Food Studies Certificate and plans to continue with the full Gastronomy program at Boston University. The opportunity to continue learning about food and what inspiring notions come forth drives her to learn more.

Kelsea Knowles joins the BU Gastronomy program from Toronto as an online student. She is currently a professional in the hospitality sector in a director level role working as the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to a celebrity chef.

She’s worked in hospitality since she was 15 years old and loves all things food from food media to eating to cooking to food waste & security. Her original plan was to work in the Visual arts sector and she has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University. Pursuing a career in the Arts didn’t offer her the same high energy, physical stimulation, and social element that hospitality did so she returned to restaurants.

After 10 years working for celebrity Chef Susur Lee, Kelsea is interested in a career shift but not yet sure in which direction. She’s hoping to expand her knowledge of food & food culture in this graduate certificate with the possibility of expanding into a Master’s degree. Once the graduate certificate is completed, she plans on complimenting her education in Food Studies with a hands-on culinary education. She’s been offered a position at Ecole Ducasse (Chef Alain Ducasse) Paris for an intensive 6 month but due to COVID-19, has been forced to defer.

Having spent the last year in and out of work due to COVID-19, Kelsea has spent a lot of time cooking and experimenting in her own kitchen and exploring the ways in which we nourish ourselves physically, spiritually & mentally all while exploring her own mixed-race identity. While her exact focus is not yet decided, her areas of interest are writing, media, gender & race studies and how they all intersect within the food world. Her current project is working on publishing a cookbook in 2023.

Kelsea is most excited about returning to an environment ripe with learning and sharing experiences with like-minded individuals.

A West Coast native, Diana Martin lives in San Francisco and comes from a career in education non-profit. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, she made her way to Los Angeles for undergrad where she crashed head first into the awe-inspiring deliciousness that is California produce. Dining all over L.A., a love of taco trucks and avocados grew deep where it has only continued to flourish in the Bay Area.

The vast majority of her professional life has been with Reading Partners, but Diana has dabbled in the frozen dessert industry with titles such as “scooper”, “trainee” and “gelato/barista extraordinaire.” She still loves ice cream and is an avid sampler (within reason) even after giving out countless samples to eager customers.

Food takes up the majority of Diana’s brain space outside of, and also during work. She loves to try new recipes and create something new from whatever leftovers linger in the fridge. Diana considers herself a darn good amateur sourdough bread baker and can’t help but to find new ways to incorporate sourdough starter because it hurts her heart to compost it all.

Diana is passionate about community, laughter, staying active, sustainable practices and eating well. The Gastronomy program is an opportunity for a total career shift and Diana is eager to make connections, learn, eat, learn more, and see where this journey leads!

Mackenzie Lombardi is from central Pennsylvania, born and raised. Wanting a bigger experience than her small town, she attended The Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a degree in Nutritional Sciences. She then came up to Boston to complete her dietetic internship at Simmons University.

During her internship she saw how individual’s food preferences were influenced by more than just taste or nutritional need. This led her to become more interested in food studies and how food choices are influenced by one’s gender, cultural background, and perceived moral value. After completing her internship, this once suburban girl decided to stay in Boston for its rich history and vast opportunities. Living in Boston has introduced her to food cuisines that she never had the chance to try back in PA, where it was either her dad’s Italian cooking or restaurants serving the typical American Cuisine. (She is happy to report that central PA has diversified their food cuisines since the early 2000’s!)

She recently became a Registered Dietitian and realized that the dietetics world wasn’t fulfilling her true interests. Enter, BU’s Gastronomy program! She is excited to examine women’s role in the kitchen and how women perceive their identify through the food they eat. Mackenzie can be found wandering grocery store isles, watching movies, or hiking in her free time.

Originally from the fertile soil of Fresno, CA, Shant Farsakian was steered towards his love of food by his green-thumbed Armenian family. He spent much of his youth pulling fresh fruits and veggies from their backyards, often eating them straight off the trees or vines. These close, special relationships with food and flavor forged a passion that he has since been exploring with gusto.

While completing his B.A. in Psychology at California State University, Northridge in 2012, Shant began brewing beer with his roommate in their apartment. He fell in love with the entire process (and product) and thus began a career in craft beer, eventually moving south to San Diego to be at the heart of the movement. There he spent 4 years learning as much as he could about the sudsy amber stuff, from the recipes and flavors to the histories and cultures. With the
latter becoming his focus, Shant became a student of the culture of cuisine. He moved quickly from just beer to all foods and beverages, using his time not working in the industry to travel and taste.

A move to Denver, and a pandemic later, and Shant has decided to bolster his self-education with a formal one in BU’s Gastronomy Program. Here he plans to polish his food writing and researching skills to help him preserve not only the food and culture of his Armenian ancestry, but that of any group whose people face the threat of racism and institutionalized genocide. He believes acceptance of all food as equal is the first step to accepting all people as such.

Leading up to this moment Abby Kohn has spent nearly a decade refining her skills as a Pastry Chef at three out of five of Manhattan’s Michelin 3-star establishments.  Presently she is the Pastry Sous Chef at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. It was the demand for details, inspiring ingredients, and opportunities for collaboration that first drew Abby to the culinary world, and second made a home for her within the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group family.  Much of her individual success is measured by a spirit of peer mentorship inherent within the TKRG family.   At this point in her career, Abby is ready to expand her understanding of food beyond the kitchen and into the world.

She intends to achieve this by obtaining her MLA in Gastronomy.  It is her hope that through a combination of skill, experience, and learning she can open her mind to thinking about food from another perspective.  In spite of the fact that the synthesis of ideas remains open-ended.  Abby is determined that she will be able to find and make connections in her learning that will ultimately create a meaningful contribution to the culinary world.

Amber Sampson is an artistic, creative, passionate, activist, public speaker, researcher and chef who loves exploring the world through food. Always hungry, her cravings for food research started as rumblings in her youth when she became incredibly sick with a brain tumor. From her hospital bed, the escapism and beauty of food and travel TV gave her the courage to fight her illness and win. As a healthy adult, Sampson’s TV idols of Julia Child and Jacques Pépin became career heroes.

Currently, Sampson holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a second degree in Food Systems Sustainability. She is a trained professional Chef, with a degree in Culinary Arts and Nutrition. Using food as a universal language, her research focuses on the relationship between food and culture. Specifically, Sampson enjoys studying the anthropological relationship between food and culture in ancient times. Her work brings present day relevance to ancient meals, people and customs, giving others a taste and connection to our delicious past, revealing a more sustainable and understanding future. You can find Sampson in the warm Southwestern desert of Arizona, teaching culinary, foraging, cooking, researching, gardening, and exploring our tasty past.

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