A Fresh Crop of Gastronomy Students

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“Farmeretts Harvesting Crops” from the Library of Congress

We are looking forward to welcoming a fresh crop of Gastronomy students to Boston University this fall. Here is the first batch of their bios and photos. Enjoy getting to know them!

Becca Berland is a self-proclaimed ice cream aficionado who was born and raised in BerlandSylvania, Ohio. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and minors in French Studies and Religious Studies. During her four years at Pitt, Becca acted as Editorial Director of Pitt’s chapter of Spoon University, as well as a National Editorial Intern and Elite News Team Member for Spoon HQ in NYC. After she spent a summer interning for Delicious Israel, an Israeli culinary food tour company based out of Tel Aviv, Becca realized that pursuing a career in food media was basically inevitable.

Currently working out of Boston as a Social Media/Content Manger for one of the top fitness coaches in the country, Becca is thrilled to join the Gastronomy program at BU where she can connect with like-minded food enthusiasts (have we mentioned that she named her dog Basil?). Becca plans to hone in on her writing skills in hopes of one day becoming the editor of a food magazine.


Mollie Braen was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated with a BA in BraenArt History in the spring of 2015 from the University of Denver and spent her final semester studying abroad at the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland. Mollie, an avid traveler, eater and cook, moved to Boston in 2015 to pursue work in the art and non-profit community. But her passion and true love was always food, wine and beer. Mollie will be pursuing her masters in gastronomy, concentrating on food policy and business. Her goal is to gain knowledge about the current and past agricultural climate in the United States and to use this comprehensive liberal arts degree to work within the progressing tech and biomedical fields to create healthier, more accessible, and organic produce and products for all. She currently lives in Cambridge with her very funny and mischievous cat, enjoys eating any and all cheeses and is excited to be back in school.


Born and raised in New Jersey, Carolyn Grillo moved to Boston to attend college. She Grillograduated with a BS in Studio Art from Boston College and then attended culinary (pastry) school in Paris, France at Le Cordon Bleu. When Carolyn returned from Paris she worked as a baker at Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston for two years. Carolyn has been working at America’s Test Kitchen in the Tastings and Testings department for the last two years. Carolyn’s job affords her the opportunity to work in different areas of the company including both print and online content, television, and cookbooks. As time progresses Carolyn has become more interested in the business side of the food industry. Through this experience Carolyn hopes to expand her knowledge, challenge herself, and gain tools to progress in her career.


Swarnata Prabhu was born and raised in Mumbai, a city known for its culinary indulgence and abundance of savors. She believes her childhood had a huge impact and influence in her relationship with food, as there was a lot of cooking, eating and entertaining at home.

Swarnata earned her Bachelor’s in Management Studies from the University of Mumbai prabhu.jpgand then went on to pursue her graduate degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations at the University of Minnesota to attain an international perspective in her field. She worked for a few years as a human resource professional and then decided to take a break to spend time with her family. During this period, she not only reconnected with her hometown Mumbai, she also decided to pursue her passion. Swarnata started her home based baking venture in Mumbai and went on to learn pastry arts from finest pastry Chefs in India. She says her culinary journey has just started. Swarnata has worked in the pastry department of a five star hotel in India, mentored and taught culinary students, indulged in food photography and explored unusual food sources (protein packed bugs in Cambodia). She not only enjoys experiments in her kitchen but has utmost fun eating, exploring and learning about new foods.

Swarnata feels confident that the gastronomy program at Boston University will equip her with a fulfilling career in the ever changing and challenging food world. She wants to focus on food policy and communications to make an impact as a food advocate, chef and educator.

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