I confess: I’m a food worshipper. I am eternally planning that next meal: what I’ll eat, where I’ll eat it, and which adventurous person I’ll have in tow as I satisfy my perpetual craving for new and unusual chow. Often to the dismay of my companions (and detriment of my wallet), my stomach leads me away from the monotony of Long Island bagels and spiritless fast food chains, and into New York City’s culturally diverse eating scene. Naturally, my edible revelations are frequently the subject of my Twitter feed and Instagram photos.
I use social media to immortalize and spread awareness about my favorite meals: Behold the fresh, colorful sushi with just the right hint of fishiness; the succulent duck confit, both deliciously sweet and indulgently savory; or the Spanish potatoes with garlic aioli in their delectable simplicity.
Last May, my love of food and my love of documenting food collided. I read on Twitter that Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, which I consider one of the most inspired Italian restaurants in New York City, was searching for a social media intern. Il Buco Alimentari puts a modern spin on traditional fare and, in my opinion, each new dish tastes better than the last.
I immediately sent in my résumé. Before I knew it, I was in their kitchen snapping photos of the talented baker kneading dough by the oven. I composed 140-character blurbs advertising the day’s specials, learned about the herbs that grow on their rooftop garden, and familiarized myself with the company’s most notable vendors and clients. A foodie couldn’t think of a more glorious way to spend a summer.
This internship could really be described as a weekly quest. Every Wednesday morning, I made the 70-minute commute to Great Jones and Lafayette St. I would stop for a quick iced coffee before continuing a few more paces down Great Jones to be greeted by Il Buco Alimentari’s brick façade and charming outdoor seating area. Inside, I was promptly seduced by the heavenly smell of cheese and cured meats. I was serenaded by the whir of the espresso machine and the crisp sound of bread being sliced. The authentic Italian décor—with linen napkins, rustic tables, and agrarian elements—set the ideal backdrop for my artfully tinted Instagrams.
Every week was a different project, which made for an exciting culinary adventure. I digitally sewed together photos of the products for sale in the “alimentari,” the restaurant’s grocery section. I spent time in the kitchen making videos of my lunch being assembled. I read books about the ins and outs of the food service industry. I even got to participate in a bread and olive oil seminar alongside the Il Buco staff, where we learned about bona fide staples in the Italian diet.
At the end of the day, my generous boss would send me home with assorted breads from the alimentari, which my family and I would break into as soon as I walked through the door. It was a true miracle if even a crumb remained after one hour.