Good Food Jobs and the importance of ice cream

Taylor Cocalis, left, and Dorothy Neagle, right, founders of Good Food Jobs

Dorothy Neagle and Taylor Cocalis, the ladies behind Good Food Jobs, are coming to BU for a free seminar this weekend. They’ll impart some general wisdom on food-focused careers and will help participants think creatively about applying food writing skills beyond traditional channels. The seminar is full, but keep an eye on our Events page and the Lifelong Learning website for future opportunities like this one.

by Erin Carlman Weber

Like so many great things, Good Food Jobs wouldn’t be if it weren’t for pluck and ice cream.

Taylor Cocalis and Dorothy Neagle, founders of the gastro-job website, first bonded during a car ride home from a dairy festival in upstate New York, an event to which they’d been lured by the 25-cent ice cream cones. They remained close for the rest of their undergrad studies at Cornell University, adding to the growing body of evidence that says connections fostered by churned frozen cream are unbreakable. After the pomp and circumstance, Taylor headed to graduate school at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, and Dorothy began working for an interior design firm in New York City.

Five years after that first ice cream date, the friends found themselves possessed by a combination of career unrest, entrepreneurial urge, food tunnel vision and a desire to work together on a project that would make a difference. They were bound once again for the dairy fair and its pocket change-priced cones when they had an “a-ha!” moment that set Good Food Jobs in motion.

The site is a boon for many food studies students, who, if they’re anything like this one, can be found hitting their browser’s refresh button on the site’s job listings several times a day.  Since its launch in May 2010, Taylor and Dorothy have transformed their brainchild from a weekly e-newsletter to full-fledged search engine. They’re currently putting up an average of 60 new opportunities a week, and they recently passed the six hundred listings mark. Openings posted on the site span the breadth of the food world. A random sampling could turn up a decorated New York City restaurant looking for line cooks, a marketing position with an urban gardening organization, a Michigan farm searching for interns, or one of the country’s top food websites hiring freelance writers.

Taylor and Dorothy say it’s their goal to ensure there’s a greater chance this diverse range of food-centric businesses exists. They vet each listing to make sure it meets not only their high standards for sustainability, but also the desires of their uniquely food-focused job seekers. The wide range of postings speaks to an idea the women say has been eye-opening for many—just because you want to work in food, it doesn’t mean you have to work with food.

Having ice cream on hand does help, though, as Dorothy and Taylor can attest.

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