Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sophie's First Week: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of an Intern

by Sophie Spring, intern

“I really don’t know.” My response when family and friends asked me what I was going to be doing at my internship this summer. You could say it was a last minute decision to live in Baton Rouge for the summer, as I got the internship with Bite and Booze the night before my last final. The chaotic nature of finding a place to live, roommates and moving all my possessions from sorority house to my new condo only increased my excitement to start working for Jay and the Bite and Booze crew.

After the long 21-hour drive from Basking Ridge, New Jersey to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I couldn’t wait to dive in. My first day consisted of random tasks from intern orientation, to running out for forgotten groceries, to peeling and cutting 25 pounds of carrots.

As I’ve learned is the usual in the #officehouse, snacks are always coming out of the kitchen: Jay’s bratwurst from Iverstine Butcher, taco samples to prep for Gov’t Taco events, artisan chocolate bars sent to us from CrateChef and beer from Tin Roof and other local breweries (only for those of us over 21, of course). 

I left with five new t-shirts and a nervous anticipation for my next day of work, catering the VIP tent at Live After 5 downtown.

I'm all smiles while Paige snaps to the beat, Therese dances and Blair flips tortillas! Photo credit: Jordan Hefler
I'm all smiles while Paige snaps to the beat, Therese dances and Blair flips tortillas! Photo credit: Jordan Hefler

As I roll up to the office Friday morning, I was immediately rushed into Chuck’s Jeep as we trucked over to City Pork for a filming of the Food Network show, Ginormous Food. My second day on the job and I was already getting on TV! 

The highlights of going to the filming were getting to taste the giant porchetta sandwich, meeting Ginormous Foods host Josh Denny and realizing how locally famous my boss Jay Ducote was. I’m already planning a viewing party so all of my friends can see the back of my head on national television when the episode airs in July!

Next, we headed to Tin Roof Brewery to sort and tag some Louisiana Molasses Mustard bottles and Louisiana Barbecue Sauce to fill orders. While tying small tags to countless bottles of mustard in a dark, hot and humid warehouse isn’t exactly my idea of fun, it’s cool to see how involved the whole staff is in every aspect of the business. Jay went from being interviewed for Food Network to working right next to me, opening and resealing boxes of his molasses mustard. However, work like this has its benefits and no one in this company will never turn down a chance to grab some Tin Roof beer.

After going back to the office to pack up equipment, I jumped in the car with some of the Gov’t Taco crew to head downtown for Live After 5. While Snap Chatting myself flipping tortillas on the flat-top, assembling tacos and listening to live music my friends are all asking, “What is your job and where can I get one?!” 

Even after working a 12 hour day, I wanted to do nothing more than get to the office at 6:15am the next morning to make a vat of popcorn tossed with Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet Rub to give out as samples at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market.

As I wandered around the Farmer’s Market, forgetting I was wearing my iconic Jay D’s shirt, I was shocked by how many vendors came up to me with friendly remarks, conversation and most importantly, samples of their products. While I had to restrain myself from buying something from every stand, I left the Farmer’s Market with tons of cool finds and an appreciation for Jay’s influence and connections in Baton Rouge.

I had already worked 21 hours, but was still most excited for our next event: Gov’t Taco pop-up at The Overpass Merchant.

I geared up for another 11 hour day, this time with a black taco flat brim of my own to sport for the evening. The kitchen was hot, my hands were burnt from the flat top and I was standing in a restaurant kitchen corner for nearly 5 hours flipping tortillas and assembling elote, but I had never had so much fun!

With Gnarly Barley beer flowing through the taps, music pumping and jokes flying we capped off the night by heading to Ivar’s with the whole crew, who are already starting to feel like my family. My friends don’t understand how that can be fun for me, or how I am still excited to work all of these hours, but walking through the #officehouse already feels like home.

After a relaxing Memorial Day, with me grilling burgers using Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet Rub for friends (and making some of them local celebrities by featuring them on the @jayducote instagram), I was ready to come back for our private dinner on Tuesday night.

Yet another long day, working from 9a.m. to 10p.m., was well worth it just for a bite of coffee rubbed venison and corner scraps of Therese’s sponge cake bread pudding. Seeing our work table transformed into a beautiful dining space for 12 lucky locals was super cool, almost as cool as taking part in cooking, serving and assembling five beautiful courses, expertly paired with wine and beer.

Just in my first few days, I have learned so much about entrepreneurship (my major) and running a business from Jay, working in a restaurant and cooking for a crowd (my dream) from Aimee and Therese, working hard and balancing different passions (my life right now) from Chuck and being a funky, cool, and awesome person (everyone’s goal) from Blair.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer because I can’t wait to see what else Bite and Booze has to offer. What do I think I’ll get from this internship? My predictions are food, fun and invaluable lessons about working hard, cooking well and endless hijinks with a crazy new family at the #officehouse.

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