It’s almost “back to school” season again. Approximately 25 new students will be enrolling as new candidates for the MLA in Gastronomy or the Food Studies Graduate Certificate. Here is an introduction to six students who will join us this fall.
Giovanna Clott lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts with her husband and two teenage daughters. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut. Giovanna went on to earn her Certified Public Accounting certificate in the state of Connecticut. She worked for nearly 10 years in her field of study and then decided to stay at home full-time to raise her daughters. Out of necessity of preparing family meals, she re-discovered her passion for food and culinary related topics. Researching and testing recipes, especially with regard to baking, became her creative outlet. Giovanna is fascinated by food culture and history, which she attributes to her upbringing. Her family emigrated from Italy to Hartford, Connecticut, where Giovanna was born. Her childhood was spent observing and participating in her family’s cultural traditions, from preserving the garden’s bounty, to wine and cheese making, and preparing authentic meals. Most recently, Giovanna worked part-time at Sur La Table in both a retail-sales role and as a teacher’s assistant in Sur La Table’s culinary program. From this experience, Giovanna decided she wanted to learn more. Through research, she discovered Boston University’s Graduate Program in Food Studies and Gastronomy. Giovanna is confident this program will provide her with the knowledge she seeks to find her best fit for a second career.
Morrisa Engles was born in Dallas, TX where she first discovered her love of food. From there, she lived in Louisville home of the Kentucky Derby, Cincinnati, OH where she received her BBA in Accounting and a Culinary Arts degree, and South Korea where she taught ESL.
During these life experiences Morrisa’s love of food and culture blossomed leading her towards the decision to enroll in the Gastronomy program at Boston University. Morrisa plans to create educational content that uses food to explore cultural identity. In addition, she is interested in writing recipe books and owning a restaurant with flavors from around the world!
Ashlyn Frassinelli was born and raised in the quiet suburbs of Philadelphia, not too far from Amish country. She was raised on her mother’s inventive German-American cooking, which consisted of plenty of roasted meat, fluffy German pancakes, curly spaetzles, and buttery pound cake.
She attended the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she obtained her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication. She spent those four years cooking out of box-sized dorm kitchens and vainly attempting to spice up packages of Top Ramen. She had the opportunity to work with food in several different capacities while in D.C., from interning for José Andrés’ nonprofit organization to writing for a local food and restaurant news blog to serving pastries and coffee at a neighborhood bakery. At BU she intends to hone her writing skills in hopes of becoming America’s next great food writer.
Ashlyn has taken a solemn vow that she will try any food at least once – something she may yet live to regret. She is a proponent of nose-to-tail cooking and occasionally chronicles her adventures in the kitchen on her blog, Offally Sweet.
Jimena Garnier was born and raised in the tropical country of Costa Rica. From an early age, the beautiful and colorful exotic fruits and vegetables found locally invigorated her fascination with food. She has worked with her father, an amateur chef and farmer, who has spent years cultivating the foods of the indigenous tribes from Costa Rica, such as native purple corn, honey and making a variety of hot sauces using an assortment of chillies that he grows on the farm.
While getting her BFA in Fine Arts from SVA in New York, Jimena used fruits and vibrant foods as her medium in sculptures. After graduating and returning to Costa Rica, she began searching for jobs in the food styling industry. However, the lack of opportunities in the area only elevated her passion for making more beautiful and relevant food. The rapid growing restaurant business in Costa Rica desperately needs a culinary consulting and styling agency. After graduating from BU’s Master in Gastronomy with a focus in Communication, Jimena hopes to return once again to her native country as an expert in making perfect donuts and to open a Culinary Consulting agency.
Ritika Naresh Jagasia was born and raised in a multiethnic city of Bombay, India. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and specialized in Advertisement. While studying, she interned with food and travel networks like NDTV GoodTimes and Living foodz. After Graduating, she continued working in the food industry which involved managing a culinary studio. She was mentored by India’s finest Pastry Chef and further went on to develop recipes for her second cook book of healthy desserts. She developed cooking skills and technique on the job and her hobbies include cooking regional Indian recipes with a modern twist. If ever given an opportunity to study again, she knew she would master in food. This propelled her to join Gastronomy Program. She looks forward to studying Food Policy and Systems and make a difference by working for the United Nations. The food nerd is also afraid she’ll die of dumpling overdose one day!
Lyrsa María Torres-Vélez, was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She started cooking at the tender age of 6 with the assistance of her dad and grandmother. She has an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from Universidad del Este Carolina’s Campus, and recently obtained her BA in Anthropology with focus in Archaeology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She believes that studying gastronomy, will not only allow her to express her emotions, but will also enable her to of study the daily life of our ancestors using cookbooks, and their diet as reference. She was part of the symposium: Current Multidisciplinary Research Approaches in Historical Archaeology, in which she presented the paper: Puerto Rico’s Cookbooks: Recipes of a History, at this year’s Society for Historical Archaeology Conference in Washington, DC. She was very interested in the BU program since it combines both of her passions: Food and Archaeology. In her future plans she wants to obtain a PhD in Historical Archaeology focusing her investigation on Cook books. This will help her trace changes in the diet of Puerto Ricans. At some point, she wants to return to the University of Puerto Rico, and teach. She loves traveling, which lets her study other cultures through their food.