For Gabriela, food has always been the center of her world. From a young age, she remembers creating recipes while hosting her own pretend cooking show in her family’s kitchen. Fast forward to today, Gabriela is the Food Network’s Social Media Manager, hosts her own live class on the new Food Network Kitchen app and produces other cool video projects, like a show on what it’s like to eat like a celebrity!
I recently caught up with Gabriela to talk about her role as a Social Media Manager, her food blog, Gourmet Gab, and what it’s been like going to culinary school. Read on below to learn more about Gabriela!
Her Campus (HC): What first drew you to the culinary world? When did you develop your passion for food/cooking?
Gabriela Rodiles (GR): I started cooking when I was about five years old! I would watch Food Network shows nonstop and even filmed my own pretend cooking shows using random ingredients in my family’s kitchen. My mom was so patient and open with me going crazy in the kitchen. As long as I cleaned up after myself, the kitchen was my playground!
HC: You’re on the social media team at Food Network, which seems like a total dream job. Why did you choose a career there, and did you always want to work in the culinary industry?
GR: Yes! It really is a total dream job. I always knew I wanted to end up at Food Network and am so lucky to be here! I studied broadcast journalism in college so I could understand all aspects of being both in front of and behind the camera and was simultaneously writing a food blog on the side. Social media wasn’t even necessarily a career field when I graduated, but I now feel lucky to be in this position where I can incorporate writing, video and food together on a daily basis!
HC: What does your job at Food Network entail and what does a typical day look like?
GR: Every day is different and that’s what I love about it! Our team works on the content that is shared across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. A normal day includes looking for new exciting content to post, writing and reviewing captions for posts, giving notes on videos, and brainstorming creative ways to promote our shows and new Food Network Kitchen app.
HC: What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
GR: Teaching my first live class on our new Food Network Kitchen app was pretty surreal! After 20+ years of doing it for fun in my own kitchen, it was such an honor to be in front of the camera with a huge production set up and cook at the station I had watched so many of our stars cook at before!
HC: First off, how cool is that?! What has it been like cooking for an audience?
GR: It is truly a dream! Once I hear the “4, 3, 2, 1” countdown and the cameras start rolling live, I never want to stop. I love being able to share cooking tips, stories from culinary school and new recipes with our fans who are watching along. You absolutely never know what is going to happen live either – from fire alarms going off to a knife getting stuck in a spaghetti squash – it always feels like something unplanned happens, and that’s part of the relatability of live cooking that I love sharing with viewers!
HC: You also get to work on some pretty cool projects, like Taste Test and Experimental Eats. Can you tell me a little about them?
GR: Yes! From eating like Ina Garten to The Rock – I’ve had some fun memories filming our series Experimental Eats. In that series, we get to show people what it’s like to eat like a celebrity, movie character or decade. Taste Test is another fun series where staffers get to test out some of the most delicious, outrageous, and straight-up crazy food trends. I always love the surprise of finding out what we’re going to try and it’s really exposed me to some new foods I hadn’t ever heard of!
HC: When you’re not in the kitchen, what are some things you like to do?
GR: Right now, it seems like I’m always in the kitchen. Ha! But on the weekends, I spend time trying new restaurants with friends, taking workout classes, and shopping at Trader Joe’s.
HC: On your blog, Gourmet Gab, you’ve talked about going to culinary school. That’s so awesome! What motivated you to go back to school?
GR: It’s been on my bucket list to go to culinary school and it felt like the right time to dive in once I moved to New York City! I absolutely love learning, so it was really important to me to get the extra training to be equipped with as much culinary knowledge as possible to apply to my job.
HC: What has been the most interesting part of your culinary arts program experience?
GR: We move through lessons so quickly that every single night seems like a completely new learning experience. The part that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed fish fabrication – like taking a whole fish down to a filet. There’s such an artfulness about it and I loved the challenge!
HC: After your classes conclude, what’s next for your culinary journey? Will you be sharing your new culinary wisdom with your followers on your blog and Instagram?
GR: Yes absolutely! I post stories on Instagram every week with photos of what we’re making in class and interesting tips I’ve learned. I also am always talking about the journey during my weekly live classes, so it’s going to be fun to be able to watch those down the road and remember what stood out every week. After my classes wrap up, I will begin my externship at a restaurant this summer, so I will most definitely still be learning constantly and can’t wait to share that experience as well.
HC: Being surrounded by the New York City food scene, what are some of your favorite food places to explore?
GR: I love exploring each different neighborhood in the city by trying different restaurants. I have so many places saved in strategic Google Maps lists so I’m never at a loss of new places to try. It seems like just when I check one off, though, I add three more!
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with aspirations in the culinary industry?
GR: If you’re thinking about working in the restaurant industry, start by looking for a job or internship in a kitchen. Culinary school has been incredible, but it definitely is an investment and I think you can learn just as much by working in a real restaurant kitchen. If you’re looking to get into the food media world, I would recommend creating your own content, looking for ways to contribute to other publishers or brands, and stay up-to-date on the trends and news in the industry!
Want to watch Gabriela’s cooking classes on the Food Network Kitchen app? You can download the app here. Then make sure to head over to Gabriela’s food blog, Gourmet Gab, for her great recipes and culinary tips!
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