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Spoon University launches ‘Taste Talks’

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Spoon University, an online food publication for college students, had its first “Taste Talks” event on April 8. The event included snacks from local restaurants, entrepreneurs and writers from local and national organizations.

The event began with scrumptious samples from Oatmeals, Sweetgreens, Joe’s Pizza, Booze Carriers and Pretzel Crisps. The first half of the night was focused on food and the media.

Geoff Bartakovics, founder of Tasting Table, the premier food and drink digital media brand, discussed the ideas behind his website.

“Food has joined the pop culture conversation alongside movies, music and television, with chefs as the new celebrities,” Bartakovics said.

Bartokovics’ website aims to reach people in an unconventional way. Rather than trying to make people visit to his website, he sends out a daily email highlighting the best recipes and restaurants to try.

A food and media panel included Sierra Tishgart, Grub Street’s associate editor, Ben Robinson, Thrillist editorial director and Deb Puchalla, Food Network’s vice president of digital editorials. The panelists gave advice about being successful in food writing. All three majored in journalism and agreed that their studies helped them with food writing.

Although majoring in journalism is great, they all think having different backgrounds on their teams makes their writing distinguished. Of course, the trend of food blogging was brought up.

“Food bloggers are fantastic and allow an individual to have freedom in their food writing,” Robinson said.

Bloggers have also brought up the standard for food photography and can become experts in their specific specializations hat are too small for big brands like the Food Network to cover.

The last half of the night focused on entrepreneurship in the food industry.

An entrepreneurship panel consisting of Joe Ariel, founder of Goldbely, Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly, founders of Num Pang Sandwich shop, and Rob Matzkin, founder of Booze Carriage, discussed starting food businesses.

Runa co-founder Dan MacCombie talked about his business. He makes an alternative energy drink using the Guyusa super leaf from Ecuador. His company is distinguished from others that make similar products — it combines the ideas of clean eating, farm to table, environmental conservation and ethically sourcing leaves. He credits his success to this combination of ideas.

All four businessmen emphasized the importance of having a good team to begin a business. Ariel also stressed having a rational passion in business.

“You should plan 10 years in advance, think through all of your decisions and be able to put your head down and do work,” Ariel said.

The night ended on a sweet note with vegan cookies from Peacefood Cafe.

Lindsey Letellier is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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NYU's Independent Student Newspaper
Spoon University launches ‘Taste Talks’