Saturday, September 12, 2009

Food for Thought

I applied for a couple of positions at the branch of Whole Foods that's about to open at Noe and 24th, thinking that working there would be a convenient way (I live just down the hill from the new location) to buy myself some more time to network and find the kind of career I actually want. Plus, one of the positions was for a cheesemonger, and how cool would that be? I even wrote up a cute cover letter about how I've been a huge fan of their company ever since I first pushed one of their kid-sized carts up the tiny aisles of their original store in Austin.

Well, it turns out that B.A. in English does not qualify you to stock shelves at a grocery store. I got the second of two rejection emails last Friday, and, even though I sort of suspected it was coming, reading that second was quite a blow--a sucker-punch, really--to my ego. I was initially puzzled as to why this particular rejection cut me so deeply (after all, I've weathered a lot of rejections in the past thirteen months), but I've concluded that I had just started to realize how much I care about food and had been hoping a job at Whole Foods would be a tiny step forward in pursuing that interest.

Now, I don't want to be a chef or a farmer and I don't want to open a restaurant, which is part of the reason I've had such a hard time figuring out that this interest in food could potentially be a career path. (Full disclosure: I would like to own a restaurant, but only if it was a coffee shop/ bakery attached to a super-cool bookstore with a garden in back-- sort of Book People and Explore Books meet the East Side Cafe and Tartine. There would also have to be a bookstore cat. And maybe also an art gallery.) But, as I sat on my bed nursing my bruised ego, it finally occurred to me that I could work on what I guess you could call the Michael Pollan end of the food world. It's actually a little embarrassing that this possibility didn't occur to me sooner. Not only do I cook at least four nights a week, but my family owns a bison ranch that's all about sustainability, my mom has been super-into food for as long as I can remember (which is how I came to be so familiar with Whole Foods in the first place), and I even wrote my college application essay about cooking and how it brings people together. Moreover, I've always loved farmers markets, urban farms, and community gardens, and am constantly on the lookout for articles like these about food and farming.

I mean, duh. Of course I should be looking for jobs that have to with food.

So, if I ever get regular access to the internet again, I will definitely be looking into food jobs, as well as the graduate programs at The University of Gastronomic Sciences, the Slow Food movement's university. Frankly, taking classes on the social history of food, slow food on film, culinary techniques, and gastro-writing as a candidate for a Master's in Food Culture and Communication sounds like a lot more fun than stocking shelves anyway. So, Whole Foods, it was definitely your loss and my gain. Ha!


  1. i vote for the coffee shop/bakery with attached bookstore and garden. i would be one of your regulars for sure and would do free medical consults.

  2. Yes yes yes! That sounds fantastic.