Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Not a Goodbye, It's a "See You Later": Hannah Reflects On Her Internship

by Hannah Wilson, intern

I remember Blair coming to Dr. Folse’s marketing class like it was yesterday. She shared what Bite & Booze was all about and I remember having a gut feeling that this was meant for me. That sounds so cheesy and so easy to say now that we’re here, a semester later...But, that’s the thing, I follow my gut. I have honed in on listening to my intuition, and it’s gotten me this far. As the class ended my friend Chad leaned over and said, “You seem a lot like her, are you going to talk to her?”; I said yes.

I marched down, got her business card and that was that. We skyped for the interview on a winter day when it was about negative four degrees in Chicago, and I remember Jay asking me what my least favorite food was. Later that day I got an offer from them, and I took it.

Me chowing down on some high quality Gov't Taco
Photo Credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

Coming back from winter break, and walking up to the #OfficeHouse on the first day, I was incredibly nervous. I have always loved eating food, but I did not think I was qualified enough to review food or represent a company all about food. The most crafty I got in the kitchen was putting olive oil in a pan with vegetables and stir frying them and I’m still not even sure if that’s exactly what you would call that. I was ready to try though, even if I was a nervous and excited mess.

Being Blair’s intern has been a little something extra. Blair, Chief Confusion Coordinator and Spin Doctor, is someone I view with the to utmost respect and has become one of my role models through this whole experience. I’ve gotten to see her goofy, honest and kind personality shine through whether we’re editing blog posts, cleaning the #OfficeHouse or having a dance party while running errands. There is never a dull moment with this crew, and everything turns into laughter and dancing in almost no time at all.

From private dinners, to grocery stores, to working Gov’t Taco events, there’s always something going on. Throughout these various adventures, I’ve learned so much more about culinary marketing and real life experience than any classroom could have taught me. This internship has opened my eyes to all of the amazing experiences that happen off of LSU’s campus, and it’s made me appreciate this city so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I also have a new appreciation for food and shopping locally. Jay and the team are so dedicated to buying local ingredients and supporting small businesses, and it really made me evaluate where I was shopping and what I was feeding myself.

Our partnerships with local Louisiana companies gives outlets to promote local commerce to both parties, and it’s been very interesting to see how everything works together. I think that shopping locally and focusing on the quality of ingredients has changed how my body operates, and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement. It makes a world of difference when you care about the quality of food you’re putting into your body (except for this sinfully delicious grilled cheese I wrote about).

Getting to pal around with Blair and taste almost every cup of coffee in Baton Rouge, pho and having our almost weekly lunches at Zippy’s have grown to be some of my favorite memories of college. But also, seeing all the effort and hardwork that goes into building a brand for a restaurant and getting to be a voice in the decision making process has been a truly rewarding experience (taste testing almost every taco hasn’t been too shabby either).

Since coming through that door in early January, the adventures, laughs and love have been endless. Which, again, sounds cheesy but it could not be more true. This group of humans have been one of the most genuine I’ve ever come into contact with. 

The success of this team, I believe, is due to the cohesiveness and family-like atmosphere we work in every day. For the past five months I’ve woken up and looked forward to my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Bite & Booze. So much so, that I’m coming back in the fall when I finish up my last semester at LSU!

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