Pint-Sized Prep Cook
As soon as I could perch on a stool, my parents put me to work cracking eggs, peeling carrots and ringing up orders at the family restaurant.
I spent four years library-hopping, hiking and making liquid nitrogen ice cream, and was awarded a B.A. in economics with honors. Senior year, I served as Head Chimesmaster for the Cornell Chimes, making music while balancing on one foot.
Associate Economist, Federal Reserve
I joined the Chicago Fed‘s banking and finance research group, just as Wall Street was undergoing fundamental changes. My research contributed to monetary policy recommendations and new crisis relief programs.
Univ. of Gastronomic Sciences
Switching gears, I left economics to attend a masters program in Food Culture & Communications in Italy. Here in the heart of Slow Food, I took a holistic look at food’s role in society, culture, politics, environment, economics and art. In other words, I studied who we are through what we eat.
Fresh: An Activist Film
Fresh is a documentary that celebrates the farmers, entrepreneurs and thinkers who are reinventing our food system. As the distribution and campaigns manager, I helped the film achieve over 4,000 screenings worldwide, and brought critical food systems issues (like factory farm reform) to a community of over 100k food “agtivists” through online advocacy campaigns.
Oyster Guru, Element Seafood
Backroom deals, lies and international intrigue—nope, this isn’t a spy flick, just the industrialized seafood world. At Element Seafood, a family-run distributor that specializes in quality shellfish, I demystified seafood for diners and chefs, supported independent farmers and fishers, and advocated for fair and transparent sourcing.
What goes into that $45 entree? In an effort to understand what it’s like on the other side of the line, I studied classical French cooking in the Culinary Techniques program at the International Culinary Center. I followed this up by working the brunch line at Palo Santo in Brooklyn for several months.
As the marketing manager for BCGA Concept, I promote brand awareness for Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, an audaciously unfiltered, boldly spicy ginger ale, made with real ginger. Drink it with a banh mi sandwich, pair it with a wedge of dark chocolate torte, mix it in your Dark & Stormy! I also helped launch Brooklyn Organics, a sugar-free ginger ale, crafted with organic ingredients, to give you all of the zip and none of the calories. Want to partner on an upcoming event with thirsty people? Let me know!
Rather than coming up with reasons why something can’t be done, I find ways to make things happen. We can’t figure out what’s in the warehouse? Solution: create a new multi-user cloud-based inventory management system. There are no trucks available to make this delivery? I’ll ferry it over on a bike. In today’s business environment, adaptability is the name of the game.
I am happiest when learning something new, and apply the information I’ve acquired to problems at hand. Over the years, this drive for knowledge has led me from hacking sous-vide circulators out of coffee urns to hand-forging my own nails.
Whether it be debugging a website or alphabetizing place cards for an event, if something needs to get done, I will take care of it. There’s no task too large or too menial in the world of small business; you must have a positive, roll-up-your-sleeves attitude. I take charge when leadership is needed, and more importantly, step back when it isn’t.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, I kept a running list of “good” business ideas on my desk at all times. As the business development coordinator at Element Seafood, we increased sales by 50% and launched two new consumer retail outlets. The best part? An entrepreneurial spirit means I get to wear many hats—lawyer, photographer, accountant, copywriter, programmer—which is perfect for someone interested in learning everything.
Marketing & Social Media
Even with limited advertising resources, it’s easier than ever for companies to seek and build relationships with their customers. At Fresh, we gathered over 60k signatures for petitions on food policy issues, and experienced double-digit list growth. What’s the secret? Consistent engagement and well-written content.
What’s the best way to express the voice of your company? I specialize in creating unique, thought-provoking stories that embody your company’s values and promote your products in a genuine way.
Well-run events look effortless, but require logistical coordination, smart budgeting and fast-paced decision making. I have managed everything from intimate private workshops to large corporate parties, but my favorite event was an oyster pairing with Brooklyn Brewery. Who knew that beer and brine would work so well together?
Food & Beverage
I am trained in classical French cooking, and I am also knowledgeable about Italian and Chinese cuisine. I’ve worked as a line cook, and in the front of house as a server, in banquets and as a room service attendant. I hold a NYC Food Handlers License and am certified by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in food and beverage pairing. I shuck oysters without spilling the liqueur.
Comments, questions and sandwich offers can be sent to: crystalbells at gmail.