Friend/Acquaintance/Stranger: “So what do you do?”
Me: “I’m interning at the Food Network.”
Every time I have this conversation, people either think I’m the coolest person ever or that there must be some other Food Network, because I can’t possibly be talking about the TV channel. Turns out I’m just the coolest person ever.
After six months of anxiety about what I’d do with my life after graduation, it almost felt too perfect. Social media intern at the Food Network? Me? I couldn’t believe it when I saw the offer pop up in my email. Nevertheless, one week later I made my first commute downtown to the office. I probably looked like such a tourist that day, gawking at the photos of Food Network chefs hanging on the walls, wondering who I’d see walking around.
Let’s get this our of the way right now, because I know you’re wondering— no, I did not meet Bobby Flay or Ina Garten.
Fast forward four months and I’m wrapping up my time here. Considering how often people ask me about what I do every day, I figured I’d share a bit with you. Not to mention that my Food Network experience is definitely one for the books.
Despite what many of you believe, we don’t just sit around the office and eat yummy food all day. (Although when there are leftovers from the kitchen upstairs, they don’t last long.) I’ve learned a lot about running a large brand’s social media, from sourcing to scheduling content. Dealt with the mishaps and technical glitches that come with the territory. Discovered the value of those short walks across the office to refill my water bottle. Seen the behind-the-scenes of Facebook live video shoots, where I met Tyler Florence and Carla Hall. Stared at more videos of cheese pulls and chocolate lava cakes than I thought possible. As a result of that, I got to make people’s dreams come true when I asked if we could share a video they made.
Over time, I became friends with the other interns. We’d chat while waiting for videos to load, learning about each other without ever seeing one another outside the office. We even produced a video together, for our final intern project.
As resident foodie, and the only intern who didn’t know how to do any of the video-related things, I acted as culinary producer. I tweaked the Food Network recipes we used as our inspiration and made our swaps the day before filming.
That day was when my decision to keep kosher hit me the most while working here. I was raised in a strictly kosher home, but I do believe that every day it’s a new choice, another opportunity for me to reaffirm that value. Whenever someone put leftovers from a shoot or a restaurant brought in samples, I simply declined. Packing lunch and snacks was nothing new to me. Sometimes I brought in something I baked. It’s all about planning ahead.
But making three types of cookie dough cake pops in the Food Network kitchen, getting ingredients all over my hands? I had to keep reminding myself not to absentmindedly taste the dough. Come filming day, I actually brought a cookie from home, since I knew that I wouldn’t be able to taste one of the ones we made.
Packing up the stack of cookbooks I’ve collected and emptying my desk drawers feels bittersweet. Most endings are, though. I’ll miss the friends I’ve made, walking through Chelsea Market, borrowing books from the culinary library, darting upstairs to the kitchen to pepper the chefs with questions. The bright side is that there’s a new beginning on the horizon.