New Students for Spring 2023, 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.

Karina English was born to immigrant parents from Panama and El Salvador, and it was these multicultural and multiracial roots that introduced her to many flavors at a young age. She developed a love for food while watching her parents cook meals that spanned across continents. She gained her basic cooking skills in high school while working in several restaurants. She continued honing her skills as she attended Culinary School in Vail, Colorado, under the instruction of some of the nation’s top chefs. During culinary school, she answered the call to serve her nation in the United States Air Force, supporting important missions such as Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During her service, she traveled the world tasting new flavors, learning new skills, and working in diverse environments further expanding her knowledge of food.

After leaving the Air Force, Karina earned her BA in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship. She then ventured into different fields such as urban farming, fashion design, and administration all while raising her large family. When COVID hit and the schools transitioned to online learning, she and her husband decided to homeschool their 5 children. During this time, she began teaching her children cooking skills, the importance of food, and food origins. There was no curriculum to follow, therefore she created her own. She felt that this information was essential for every child to learn so she decided to write a curriculum that would be available to everyone.

When not researching recipes and food origins, you will find Karina traveling around Arizona with her family, at a local farmers market, or car shows. She can’t wait to take a deeper dive into the study of food and learn from some great industry professionals.


Alexander Milles (He/Him/They/Them) was taught by his mother that the best thing in life is good food paired with great company and laughter. He started Boifood, a food and travel blog in 2016, which led to work trips to Anaheim to attend Natural Products Expo West, and Seattle to attend Anthony’s Oyster Festival, this last year. He currently lives in Boise, Idaho. In his free time he runs The Table Rock Podcast all about the local Treasure Valley food scene and Knead to Know Book Club which puts food at the center. He is a huge food insecurity advocate. Alex has been featured in local publications such as NPR’s Idaho Matters and KTVB’s Idaho Today. Alex has a B.S. in Advertising from the University of Idaho. He also has family in Springfield, Massachusetts. Fun fact, he’s originally from Hawaii.


Noel Motsinger was born in Minnesota and was never a big fan of food. She did spend hours at the dinner table as a young child, but it was usually in protest over having to finish her creamed corn or baked beans. She has no charming stories of learning to cook at someone’s knee. Her mom served solid Midwestern favorites like sloppy joes, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce loaded with mushrooms, and that special Minnesota peculiarity called “hot dish.” Noel didn’t like any of those things.

At some point she changed from being a child indifferent for food to an adult who learned how to feed herself, learned to do it well, and realized she enjoyed it. She spends most of her free time reading cookbooks, especially vintage ones, and collecting odd volumes during her travels with her archaeologist husband.

Noel earned her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration from Florida State. Her career history includes time in the hospitality industry, Title IV student financial aid regulatory compliance, and cultural resource management.

Noel is looking forward to being part of this community and, having spent the last 14 years working with anthropologists, exploring the interface between people and food and culture as one of the most interesting aspects of life.


Natalie Rivera Rivera, born and raised in Puerto Rico, has always been a curious and passionate person. Ever since she could remember, she has been interested in the concept of food and how it gathers people together. Being part of a big family, with almost 140 relatives, where every activity or reunion is focused around food gave her a unique perspective towards it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until she went to university that the idea of understanding other countries by the way they communicate and interact with others sparked a curiosity in her. As a result, she obtained a bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico: Rio Piedras Campus in marketing and foreign languages: French and Italian. After that chapter, her passionate side led her to study baking and pastry arts at the Culinary Institute of America and a study abroad program in Puglia, Italy, where the concepts of food and culture collided, opening a whole new point of view to understanding history through food. In search of her cultural identity, the interwoven concepts of culture, language, and food became the inspiration for her learning and preserving Puerto Rico’s food history and representing it through bread and pastries.

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