Hotelie Magazine

Hotelie Fall 2012 no classnotes

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by Barbara Lang '78, MPS '04 Job #43: Sailing the world for food An array of chilis, sprouts, and herbs, the ingredients for Vietnamese pho soup There is a book called 150 Good Food Jobs, and I've had 43 of them. Basically, these have been encapsulated within two long-term careers, one in Napa Valley as a winery culinary director and the other in Ithaca, where I spent 20-plus years with the School of Hotel Administration. After some years teaching about wines and later restaurant management and co-owning an Ithaca restaurant, I served as an academic and career advisor. Several years after a serious cancer scare, I retired at 55 and went rogue, looking for a new career combining my love of travel, food, culture, and service. A semester at sea I found my next calling in fall 2011 as the adult lifelong-learning coordinator for the University of Virginia's Semester 64 School of Hotel Administration at Sea program. With my husband Dave, 500 undergraduates, 60 adult learners, the faculty, and the crew, I sailed from Montreal to Casablanca, Morocco; Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Port Louis, Mauritius; Chennai, India; Penang, Malaysia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Kobe, Japan; Hilo, Hawaii; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Coxen Hole, Honduras before docking in Fort Lauderdale at the end of 120 days. Charles Winslow, III '13 and I were the only Cornellians on the ship, and we often compared notes before and after a port of call and imagined life on campus as we were crossing the equator or going through the Panama Canal. My job was to keep the adults ("the Salty Dogs") happy and occupied. A perk of the job was the opportunity to chaperone field food programs, which I often did, including a Tropical Spice Garden in Penang Pang, a cooking class in Capetown, and a coffee plantation tour in Mercedes, Costa Rica. This freedom in ports allowed Dave and me to explore each host country independently for three to six days at a time. I spent that time focused on food; food in the markets, restaurants, and the street (which caused a bit of food poisoning and worse, two days in ship's quarantine).

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