A Gastronomy Manifesto

by Taylor Cocalis of Good Food Jobs

Identifying the field of gastronomy as your chosen career path is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is in the wide open opportunity and the option to be creative in the path that you take. The curse is that there is no set path. The road ahead, yet unpaved (or uncleared, shall we say? We don’t want to encourage putting any more concrete on the earth.), will take exhausting amounts of time, energy, enthusiasm, expertise, and a healthy dose of faith in ourselves and each other.

Alison & Michelle preparing panzanella for their Anthropology of Food Course at BU

There is no guarantee that what we are doing will indeed make a difference, but we all feel that there is merit in pursuing it. The prospect of failure is far less painful than the regret we’d feel if we never tried.

So we ask you all to step out of your comfort zone – choose the path less traveled, find satisfaction in the small strides that you make – they may be smaller steps, but they are meaningful ones.

And while this path does not yet promise fame or fortune at the outset, it will provide community, rebuild culture, and provide a sense of wealth and security that money can’t buy. When you are feeling like the world is against you, casting a judgemental eye on how you’ve chosen to devote your time, energy, and precious educational funds, come find us. We’ll have a seat ready for you at our table, welcoming you to celebrate your interest in all things living, and inspiring ideas as to how we can continue to be the change we want to see in the world.

We know from experience that the first step is the hardest, and we’re here to help you. We urge you to do this: tackle one small issue . . . one seemingly insignificant contribution to the world. It can be selling expensive (but worth it) artisan cheese to those that can afford it, introducing the idea of growing food to those who will listen, or providing accounting expertise to agricultural start-ups. You can teach someone to take an extra ten seconds to taste every day, bake fresh bread for your buddies, or pick-your-own fruit for the first time. You can teach, you can eat, you can support, or you can savor. You can approach food from the politics, the pleasure, the production, the economics, the ecology, the psychology, the sociology, the culture, or the agriculture. It can be a career, a job, volunteering, or acting as an engaged citizen. But please don’t be afraid to do something . . . anything . . . to start taking steps in the right direction.

In isolation, none of these individual acts will save the world, but together they have the power to slowly and steadily rebuild our food culture and change the world for the better.

______________________________________________________________

Taylor Cocalis co-founded Good Food Jobs in 2010, but her path to food enlightenment started long before that. At Cornell University she studied Hospitality Management and upon graduation in 2005 she completed a Masters in Food Culture at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma, Italy. 

After three years of running the education department at Murray’s Cheese in New York City, Taylor teamed up with a fellow Cornell alum Dorothy Neagle to create Good Food Jobs, a gastronomy focused job search website designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the business that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect.

This blog post also appeared in the most recent Good Food Jobs newsletter.

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One thought on “A Gastronomy Manifesto

  1. I’m currently looking to make a career switch from IT/business consulting to food anthropology, and it was incredibly encouraging to to ready your manifesto. The most common question I get now is ‘what are you going to do with a Master’s in Gastronomy?’ and while I have some vague ideas and notions, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in having not quite figured out the specifics yet. Thanks for the vote of confidence and support!

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