Jessica Caccamo is originally from Clifton Park, NY and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Alfred University in 2009 where she concentrated in ceramics. Immediately following graduation she began working in Alfred University’s admissions office and started recruiting students from New Jersey and Manhattan. Jessica has been working as a higher education professional for the past 6 years, and credits her travels to Manhattan, as well as other cities across the Northeast and Midwest, as the impetus for her passion for creative and innovative food. She has become an avid home cook and baker, and also spends her time working as a server at Brookline’s Fairsted Kitchen. She hopes that the Gastronomy program will help her make the transition to working full time in the restaurant and food industry.
Krysia Lycette Villón was born and raised in the Boston-area. She received her BA in Spanish from Mount Holyoke College and her AS in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University at Providence, among other professional certificates in the hospitality industry. She currently works as the Assistant Manager of the Retail Store at Taza Chocolate in Somerville, MA, a bean-to-bar organic, stone-ground, dark chocolate factory just outside Boston. She had a long career in Development and Volunteer Management in higher education until she decided to pursue her culinary dreams. Her recent experiences in the culinary world have brought her to want to learn more about various food histories, especially that of the Aymara and Quechua people of South America (her ancestors), and the cultures connected to them. She is inspired by the generations-deep relationship Indigenous peoples have with the world (and, hence, food items) around them and wishes to write and teach about these histories. She hopes to develop this knowledge more intimately through the Gastronomy program at BU.”
Ilana Hardesty has been an enthusiastic home cook for as long as she can remember. Her inherited food genes are from her Iowa meat-and-potatoes father (brownies!) and her South African Jewish mother (chicken soup with matzoh balls!). Ilana’s interests in food have led to extensive cooking experimentation at home, (including keeping her cardiovascular-challenged husband interested in low fat food), voluminous shelves of books about food and foodways, and teaching healthy cooking techniques at a number of Boston-area adult education institutions. Her aim in the BU Gastronomy Program is to give structure to her self-taught knowledge of food and food issues, and to expand her general knowledge.
Rachel DeSimone is a born and raised New Yorker from Hell’s Kitchen who found her way to Boston to complete her undergraduate studies in Hospitality Administration and Journalism at BU. She has worked in an array of restaurants during her college career in Boston, New York and Sydney, Australia but found her true passion in writing. As she embarked her editorial career she took on the position of Editor in Chief of BU’s chapter of the national food publication Spoon University, managing a team of 50 people. She continues to find inspiration writing about anything that catches her appetite. She knows that the Gastronomy program will strengthen her food foundation and inform her writing and is excited for all that is to come as she begins the graduate school journey. Most importantly to note, she loves ice cream to the ends of the earth and always has at least seven different pints in her freezer for safekeeping.