Back-to-School Season, Part 2

It is back to school season!  Classes in Boston University’s Gastronomy program begin on September 2, 2015.

Here is your next batch of introductions to some of the new students joining the Gastronomy Program for the Fall 2015 Semester.


Valencia BakerValencia Baker is a fresh transplant from beautiful California who is on a mission to soak up all things epicurean at Boston University. Blend the adventurously quirky energies of Ms. Frizzle, with the homey, bubbly feel of Giada de Laurenttiis, and you’ve got her in a tasty nutshell. She’s dipped into many food niches, from Culinary Arts Elementary School Teacher, farm hand and prep cook at a Roman countryside restaurant, to Food Shelter Organizer outside of Sacramento, CA, and prep cook in Philadelphia’s financial district, but she’s hungry for academic growth.

A graduate of University of California Davis’ Sociology, Anthropology, and Sustainable Food Systems programs, her mind is excited about food justice. Born to an artistic and hardworking Afro-Latina family, Valencia grew up eating and cooking lots of colorfully rich meals at the kitchen table. Food brought everyone together after hard days’ work and each delectable dish, prepared with care, was enthusiastically celebrated by all. Eventually, the desire to share with others the feelings of love, gratitude, and pleasure that creatively prepared meals bought her family became an insatiable passion. After undergraduate school, she focused on merging her food love fury with her blooming social concerns for food justice. After BU Gastronomy, Valencia plans to open a food education farm supported bed and breakfast.


Elizabeth Nieves is from the Bluegrass State of Elizabeth NievesKentucky, 1,000 miles south of Boston. She recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with her Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science. Food science led her to two internships, including one at WILD Flavors, Inc. and the Food Systems Innovation Center (FSIC) at UK. Working at WILD gave her insight into the commercial food industry, while working with FSIC taught her about food microbiology and how to do home canning. Baking is where her real passion lies and, thus, her friends have affectionately nicknamed her ‘Bethy Crocker.’ Her great grandfather started the family bakery, which was passed down two generations and is no doubt where her fondest baking memories began. By studying Gastronomy, she would like to expand upon her culinary skills, while keeping a global perspective. Elizabeth will focus on food policy and hopes to work with the global food supply or nutrition policies in the future.


“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

Metiga ParkcharoenMetiga Parkcharoen credits this quote with giving her the courage to follow her gourmet dream of becoming a well-versed food connoisseur and restaurateur. Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Metiga has had the chance from a young age to study in many other countries, including Singapore, France and the United Kingdom.She received her BA in Marketing Communication Management from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand with a term of study aboard program at Sciences Po in Paris. She has also completed a Master’s Degree in Marketing at University of Bath in UK.  Through this travel she became trilingual (English, Thai and Chinese) and she also developed an interest in the various food scenes.

Metiga’s wanderlust and experiences living aboard and her eagerness to try out all kinds of cuisines have sparked her love of food. She anticipates an entrepreneurial career, revolving around curating the ultimate dining experiences. She also hopes that she will be able to contribute and share her extended knowledge of the food manufacturing industry and experiences while working as a marketer for one of the leading food conglomerates in her home country.


Yi Chieh Yeh, also known as Erica, is from Taiwan but has lived in South Africa for most of her life. She recently graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. She started baking her own birthday cakes to take to school Yi Chieh Yehto share with her classmates in her early teens and has loved cooking and baking since. Having worked with and talked to all sorts of people about their health and nutrition during her university days, she became intrigued by how food, culture, history and so many aspects each play a different but important role in an individual’s life and well-being. She dreams to be able to create beautiful food, as well as, to give appropriate and effective dietary and culinary advice and guidance to people with special dietary needs.

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