CIA Student Sees the World

Erica Murphy, CIA Graduate & Culinary Adventurer

Erica Murphy, CIA Graduate & Culinary Adventurer

Here, below, is a message I received from one of my former (brilliant) students, who went on a culinary adventure as a way to find her food job. I am awed by her courage and initiative to grasp life in both hands.  Her name is Erica Murphy.

“I sold all of my belongings, rented my townhouse in Colorado, left my job at a resort where I was working and went to Italy to volunteer on organic farms and vineyards with the Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) organization. I spent 2011 and 2012 traveling and farming from the Alps to Sicily and everywhere in between.

Every three months I had to leave the country I was in as I had no visa. So I spent waiting time pulling pints of Guinness in Ireland, cooking in an organic cafe on the Beara Peninsula and then a few months in Turkey and the Balkan countries doing everything from holding conversational English classes to working at a hostel. It’s been quite the adventure!

I started a blog ( The goal of all of this travel, besides a wonderful experience, was to have a chance to really develop myself and learn the authentic regional culinary specialties of Italy while living with local families, and–to find my way into the culinary tourism industry in Italy.

The day I left (Nov 2, 2012), I was offered a position with a company in Puglia.”

Food Job: As Easy as Apple Pie

If there was a parliament of pastry, Apple Pie would be the prime minister and Johnny Appleseed its roving ambassador.

They say nothing is as American as apple pie but Isaac Newton, knowing the gravity of making such a claim, could have upset the apple cart by pointing out humble pies appear throughout the world.

Some think the best apple pie is topped with ice cream.  Others insist an apple pie order isn’t complete without a slice of cheddar cheese. Modern folk mindlessly munch mini-pies nuked from the microwave; others dream of apple pie and visualize Norman Rockwell’s Mom in her red checkered apron with the straps criss-crossing like a pastry lattice across her back.  They say nothing is as loving as a pie, golden, delicious and hot from the oven baked for the apple of her eye.

Adam and Eve, George Washington, Norman Rockwell, McDonald’s and Steve Jobs had vastly different views of apples and apps.

Clearly apple pie is a state of mind.

For the fortunate an apple pie is a pie of cake.

Food Job: Bake your own unique apple pies and become a valued supplier for restaurants, country clubs, food trucks and wherever great food is offered.

Food Writer Job:  Become the world’s greatest expert on the topic of apples. Here are a few subjects to cover:

Apple pie origins

Adam’s apple (was it worth the bite in the Garden of Eden? Were Adam and Eve the only couple who were truly made for each other?)

Apple computer

An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Apple brandy

Apple cider

Apple in mouth of a pig (why?)

Apple martini

Apple nutrition

Apple picking

Apples that don’t fall far from the tree

Apple use in aromatherapy

Applebee’s (restaurant review)

Apples dippers at McDonald’s (opinion of)

Apples in art

Apples in history

Apples in literature

Apples in religion

Bobbing for apples

Candy apple

Curious customs associated with apples

Dried apple dolls

Golden apple of Hesperides

Johnny Appleseed

Lifecycle of an apple from seed to harvest

Newton’s apple

Snow White and the poisoned apple

The Big apple (origin of name)

Varieties of apples

Where apples grow

Which variety to choose for baking an apple pie

You get the idea?  It is a form of word association. You can do this with virtually any single food subject. Begin a blog.

Quote: The first written mention of a fruit pie:
“Thy breath is like the steame of apple-pyes.”

Robert Greene (1590) ‘Arcadia’


Brand Manager

Marcus Samuelsson, age 41, owns 6 restaurants, wrote 2 cookbooks and a memoir, appears (very) frequently on the TV, featured with full pages in the New York Times on Sunday…featured in Food Arts…employs 700 people…unintentionally leaves most of us in the dust?

When we think of Ben & Jerry we think of caring philanthropists who produce super ice cream. We think of Starbucks as earth-friendly folk who generously provide health benefits for their employees and make high priced coffee that is sold in a paper cup.

These images are creations of marketing experts who have specialized knowledge within specific fields.

A culinary brand manager understands the demographic profile of food television viewers, analyzes food trends, researches packaging innovations and coordinates the strategies of advertisers especially when it comes to “personalities” of the Anthony Bourdain genre.

Anthony Bourdain said, “ “Few things are more beautiful to me than a bunch of thuggish, heavily tattooed line cooks moving around each other like ballerinas on a busy Saturday night. Seeing two guys who’d just as soon cut each other’s throats in their off hours moving in unison with grace and ease can be as uplifting as any chemical stimulant or organized religion.” (His current net worth is estimated to be $6 million.)

How to Become a Brand Manager | › Job Search & Employment

Find a Job

Graduation daze are here and many are worried.

An alternative to applying for a job is to create one for  yourself.

Use the social media to announce your availability and place an ad in a trade magazine or Personal Column of a local publication.

For example: I am a speech writer. My former clients include three senators and several CEOs. I can help you….

I am a personal chef specializing in preparing gluten-free dinners and small tempting meals for home bound elderly.

I am a public relations and marketing specialist. I can increase your sales! I only charge a fee when I achieve the result you specify.

I’ll make a sensational cake for you. I can reproduce your house in genoise.

I am a specialist in designing mini kitchens in tiny apartments.

I’ll write your cover letter and help you with your resume.

Create a web site to showcase your work and get a dedicated phone number for your new business.

Food Job Decisions

Like it or not, we have to keep making decisions. Should I wear this or that? Should I buy this or that car? Take this or that apartment? Go to this movie or that one? Go out or stay at home? Should the meat be well-done, medium, or rare? Blue cheese or Thousand Island dressing? Smooth or chunky? Small, medium, or large? The list of questions—and answers—goes on and on. Now is the time to ask the right questions—lots of them. At the O. J. Simpson trial, Johnny Cochran didn’t ask the jury, is this man guilty? Instead, he asked if there was hanky-panky in the Los Angeles Police Department. It is a matter of interpretation whether this was the right question. What we do know is that if you ask the right questions, you may alter the course of your personal future.