Introducing the Spring 2012 Graduate Assistants

This spring, graduate assistants, Alex Galimberti and Emily Contois, will be helping with various projects and tasks, from research support to event planning to the blog’s editorial calendar. Feel free to pepper them with questions and ideas. If you haven’t met them yet, here’s a quick introduction:

Alex GalimbertiAlex Galimberti will be continuing his graduate assistant work from fall 2011, focusing on research aspects of the program, as well as helping with program events, policies and organization tactics. An avid traveler with a particular interest in Latin American food cultures, Alex is hoping to work with gastronomic tourism development after completing the program. “One of my favorite things about researching Latin American cuisines is tasting unique ingredients, and also learning traditional pre-Hispanic recipes,” Alex explains. Exploring exotic dishes such as chapulines and huitlacoche (fried crickets and wild fungus), as well as cuy (guinea pig), he’s not afraid to try indigenous foods and distinctive cultural dishes that many Americans might shy away from. “My main goal is to keep going to different countries and learning more about their food.” After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Alex began the Gastronomy program in 2010, taking a few courses at a time while he also works at Taranta Restaurant in the North End. He is also increasingly interested in issues involving food and labor and will be attending the Labor Across the Food Systems conference at UC Santa Cruz in early February. Alex has been featured on this blog before, so for more information check out his student profile.

Emily ContoisEmily Contois will focus on communications projects, primarily the BU Gastronomy blog. Always intrigued by the connections between food and culture, Emily wrote her honors thesis at the University of Oklahoma on the rhetoric of the dieting industry. “The majority of Americans have dieted at some point. What I found is that the rhetoric of diet books, advertisements, and menus purposefully incites conflicted food relationships, creating an unending demand for diet products,” she says. She went on to study public health nutrition at UC Berkeley, where she also taught undergraduate nutrition courses. She then tried her hand at employee wellness, helping to launch Healthy Workforce at Kaiser Permanente. Emily began the Gastronomy program in fall 2011, while continuing to work with Healthy Workforce and Sargent Choice at BU. While only in her second semester, her research interests tend to gather around representations of food and food-related phenomena in popular culture and how they impact perceptions, behaviors, and society. She’s excited to be presenting her paper, “Not Just for Cooking Anymore: Deconstructing the Twenty-First-Century Trophy Kitchen,” at the Language of Food Conference in April. Upon completing the program, Emily hopes to return to teaching and find her path to becoming a food studies professor.

Want to get involved? We’re always looking for submissions! Recipes, alumni and current student profiles, event and festival write ups, and photographs are welcome, as well as anything else you dream up. Feel free to email us anytime with suggestions, ideas or articles – we’d love to hear from you!

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