Origin: Willamsburg, Brooklyn
Company: VICE started in Montreal over 20 years ago as a magazine called Voice. The “O” was eventually ditched to make them sound just as cool as their media content. Today, Vice operates in 30 countries and has won multiple awards from Emmys to Weddys.
Position: I work in the food department called MUNCHIES, a colloquial term used for when you crave junk food after smoking weed. That’s more or less the kind of recipes and content we share with the world, among other things (see MORE below). As their FIRST EVER test kitchen apprentice, I have 6-months worth of recipe development and testing underway.
Mentors: Farideh Sadeghin is the foxy Test Kitchen Director. I met her through Emma Frisch, another mentor of mine. Seeing how Farideh has moved up to this position sans culinary school makes me hopeful that I can rise to similar success one day. Full of sass and sarcasm, Farideh is as refreshing as an ice cold glass of Long Island Iced Tea.
Amanda Catrini is the Test Kitchen Manager and my supervisor. She interviewed me and gets the ball rolling for day-to-day tasks. She previously worked at Food Network, which is pretty safe in terms of food compared to Munchies. With these two, I feel like I’m working with my dude friends—we’re straight to the point, joke around like children, and have a well-deserved drink at the end of the day. There’s no sugar coating in this kitchen (except when we’re making dessert). Because of this, I’m learning to be less dainty and more aggressive in my cooking.
A Day in the Life: After a one and a half hour commute to Brooklyn, I waltz into the test kitchen and immediately start testing a recipe. I weigh and measure all the ingredients and write down every last detail of my cooking process, covering my recipe with the same amount of red pen your high school teacher once did. Farideh, Amanda, and I then eat it and discuss its overall appeal, sometimes it goes straight to a photo shoot for the site. Then I usually shift to family meal. Amanda brings out produce from the walk-in that’s on its way out and I make whatever I want out of it for lunch. I usually look up a basic recipe on my phone then experiment with the flavors. To kill time, I deep clean areas of the kitchen or go out to the rooftop garden and pick radishes and herbs. By then, it’s almost time to go, so I finish my dishes, clean up the kitchen, and head home. Some days we’ll throw cooking events, others are films shoots where I help set up the mise en place for guest chefs. Soon I’ll be attending Culinary, Editorial, and Video Production workshops to learn more about the media elements that make up Munchies.
Projects: My first project is making an inventory sheet for the test kitchen. We have so many random ingredients in the freezer and pantry that aren’t getting used. So I proposed to make a list of all them so we know what we have and can (hopefully) develop recipes around. So far I’ve got my eyes on mustard oil, sweet potato flour, and cuttle fish ink. My next project is to develop my own recipe for the Munchies website! I have to make a list of 5 possible recipes for Farideh to approve (recipes below)! Lastly, my own personal project is using up leftovers I bring home from the test kitchen and turning them into some cool recipe for this blog like pickled blackberries, nasturtium leaves, and lobster butter.