Facebook Interns Who Chased Culinary Dreams

For Aaron Tutein and Denika Boyd it was a dream come true when they got the opportunity to work as interns in Facebook. Ironically though, these two residents of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands always have had culinary dreams to chase, but the fulfillment happened in the most extraordinary circumstances.

It all started when Josef Desimone, Executive Chef at Facebook, visited St. Croix as the judge for “A Taste of St. Croix”. The week long event is community fundraiser where a cooking competition is held for people to enjoy the food and wine of the island district. Along with Desimone, the other culinary experts from Facebook that attended the event were Dean Spinks and Tony Castellucci.

While the three chefs were, as part of their itinerary, working with CTEC, they got to meet Tutein and Boyd. CTEC is a local, vocation school where Tutein and Boyd were students of its culinary program. Desimone thought both these budding cooking experts had something about them and he promised them work at Facebook.

However, things didn't quite move as smoothly as was expected. Three months after the chance meeting, Desimone got involved in a motorcycle accident and was killed. Tutein and Boyd obviously thought that all their dreams were shattered, but it wasn't to be. Spinks and Castellucci, along with Billy Desimone, Josef’s brother, decided that they want to honor the promise made by their late colleague and brother. And so, a phone call was made to St. Croix.

It was Spinks, who charted out the 2-week internship program and Tutein and Boyd were asked to come and have an experience of a lifetime. They got involved in every aspect of making food at Facebook – ordering raw materials, storing the raw materials and preparing the ingredients for food to be cooked the next day. Spinks also helped the duo plan out a St. Croix happy hour theme for the Facebook employees and almost 1,500 dishes were prepared and sold for the theme.

The culinary dreams of the two Facebook interns were not just about cooking and serving food. Because they handled everything in the kitchen, they received important lessons in the art of leading and managing teams. They also earned how to manage time and most importantly, how to keep customers happy.

For Tutein and Boyd, nothing would have been possible without the help of the St. Croix Foundation. The foundation got to know about the internship program at the last moment and that it couldn't find a sponsor. But it still managed to raise $10,000 to fund the trip. The foundation believes that Tutein and Boyd can be role models for the young people of the island since St. Croix has the eighth highest homicide rate in the world and it could certainly do with some role models.

Tutein and Boyd and don’t know whether their culinary dreams will be fulfilled, but they are waiting. However, as Facebook interns they learned some valuable life lessons and they are now working to convert the internship program into something bigger and better.

More about
A P Thomas

A P Thomas

Top Posts | Culinary Arts

Culinary Art Brings Confidence to Inmates

At first glance, the kitchen we are talking about might give the impression of any ordinary kitchen at a restaurant, a café, or a home. However, one special quality makes it extraordinary; it is a kitchen where prison inmates are taught culinary arts. To some, prison inmat ... ...

How to Become a Food Stylist

It is one thing to prepare a delicious batch of spaghetti sauce served with turkey, but it is another thing altogether to arrange these parts of a scrumptious meal on a plate to take a beautiful photograph for an ad. The art of food styling entails arranging food in a way that it appears ...

Culinary Arts: A Hot Degree

Do you love food, but hate the idea of sweating in a fast-paced kitchen atmosphere? Consider a degree in Culinary Arts. Many opportunities await that don't necassarily involve boiling pots of liquids, third degree burns from hot baking pans, or smelling like cabbage or funky cheese a ... ...

Interests in Culinary Schools is Skyrocketing

Are you looking to start a career in culinary arts? If so, you are not alone. Millions of other students have developed a great interest and passion in this career. If you think you can take in the kitchen heat, consider making cooking your career.  Why join a culinary schoo ... ...

Mike Chrostowski Looks Outside the Box

Culinary Arts has been his field of expertise for years. His passion and dedication for cooking grow over time. Today, this wonderful and dedicated chef and culinary arts instructor looks and thinks outside the box for his cooking course and program. Mike Chrostowski is a well-known chef ...

Candy Shop Tradition Gets a Push from Students

It was closed because of a terrible incident, but because of its sweet offers and candy-filled tradition, this candy shop was reopened by dedicated and hardworking culinary arts students from Kokomo Area Career Center. Confectioners’ Company was first opened in 1949. The candy shop ... ...

Being a Top Chef Isn't the Only Path to Culinary Success

There’s a common perception, which suggests that the only way of achieving culinary success is by becoming a top chef. However, this is not true; today, if one wants to rule the world of culinary art, he or she has more ways of doing that besides becoming a top chef. The huge popul ... ...

Tips to Never Fail a Culinary Class

Everyone in this world has a calling. Some feel like they are born to be medical professionals while others go for more corporate fields of study like business and law. But there are a few selected individuals who find their calling in rather informal professions like arts, and even lesser pe ...

Get Rich, Become a Chef

The job of a chef is highly demanding. When people are sitting and waiting for the most mouthwatering food, the chef cannot afford to make a single mistake. And of course, there is no rat chef of Ratatouille to make those heavenly dishes; the chef has to do the job on their own. Howev ...