How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
It was extremely serendipitous! This past fall, I made the difficult decision to schedule my amicable “graduation” from my last job after 6.5 years to take a break and travel with family and friends. I made sure to update my LinkedIn before I departed with my skills and aim to find a new role in the following months. I included my two main goals for the future: to be creative and help people.
Our Founder and Executive Director Ashley reached out to me while I was away, which led to an interview upon my return. The lesson being: always update your LinkedIn!
Tell us about your background! How did you become interested in food rescue?
Admittedly, it’s been an indirect path, but such a welcome outcome. While at Boston magazine in their marketing department, I honed my event planning, publishing, and traditional marketing skills, working on projects as varied as creating a Chinese-Language Edition, to running show houses, to managing a two-night food festival. I am so thrilled that I can take these experiences and adapt them to my role at Spoonfuls, where I similarly have various responsibilities across the spectrum, but with the added layer of goodwill and motivation to help the individuals we serve.
My first month, I had the opportunity to do ride-alongs with many of the Food Rescue Coordinators and it was absolutely remarkable to see all that they strategically accomplish each day. They are superheroes — not only do they lift hundreds of pounds of heavy product at each pick-up, but they know every grocery store staffer by name, memorize intricate routes and rules, and thoughtfully curate items for each of the numerous beneficiaries, all while embodying kindness and tact.
What unique skills do you bring to the job?
My work style is equal parts detail-oriented and creative, which seems to be a bit of an anomaly–left brain and right brain working together. You can bet I will obsess equally on the budget or digital tracking of a program as I will with the aesthetics and content.
Do you like to cook? Any signature recipes?
I set a self-prescribed goal to become a better cook a few years ago and I am finally getting there! During a stretch of relying on a meal kit service, I began picking up simple tips from their instructions that I had never previously encountered in my limited practice–how to do a quick pickle, how long things take to bake, how and why to pan sear, what seasonings work well together, and how to cook to taste.
I also picked out a new cookbook every few months and would read them cover to cover, then cook several dishes. This has led to infrequent but enthusiastic dinner parties and the general shift from cooking as a chore to cooking for pleasure.
The cookbooks that have a permanent spot in my rotation are: Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, Small Victories and Now & Again by Julia Turshen and Dining In by Alison Roman. I also love Mark Bittman’s newsletter.
Dining out is my first and truest passion though–the centerpiece of every special occasion, and let’s be frank, weekend and trip. My tried (over and over again) and true favorites are: Tiger Mama, SRV and The Publick House.
What would we find in your cabinets or refrigerator right now?
Everything Samin Nosrat recommends upgrading in Salt Fat Acid Heat: the best olive oil, balsamic, salt and butter I can afford. The pantry always has cannellini beans, coconut milk, and tons of spices. The fridge is often a bit of a wasteland outside of condiments, beer and oat milk–the result of trying to buy what I need during frequent grocery trips and nothing more, then using it all up (per my Lovin’ Spoonfuls education).
What are you most excited about working at LS?
On a very basic level, I am so excited about spreading the word about our work! People may not know what food rescue exactly is, but after two or three sentences explaining, they are typically completely on board. I hope to help the organization gain more opportunities to tell our story and get new people dedicated to preventing food waste.
By Liz Ferguson