Major: American Studies
Hometown: Greenwich, CT
Our Campus Celeb, Lauren Miller just can’t get enough fencing and food. We interviewed her and friends Annie Mullen and Carolina Trombetta last year when they founded the Yale-favorite food blog, Chew Haven. One year later, and fresh from her third NCAA fencing championship, Lauren and her friends are still sampling and savoring the diverse foods of New Haven (and not-quite as diverse chicken meals cooking in Lauren’s own kitchen). Read on to learn more about how Lauren became a fencer and the consequences of working in the Global Chocolate Office at Mars’ Headquarters!
Favorite snack: anything with cheese
Guilty Pleasure TV show: The Mindy Project
Most used app: Yelp
Favorite Emoji: Sly face
Favorite Sports Team: Mets
Last movie you watched: Dallas Buyers Club
HC: What did you do for Spring Break?
LM: I went skiing for a week and then trained for NCAAs, because we had regionals at the beginning of break to qualify for NCAAs, and then NCAAs at the end of break in Columbus.
HC: How did you get started in fencing?
LM: I started fencing when I was eight at summer camp. My favorite counselor at camp was going to fence in college, so she taught me that summer and I continued fencing at a club after she left. Then about 6 years later I was fencing at a World Cup and she was there watching her friend from college. When she saw me, her jaw dropped – she had no idea I’d continued to fence since camp.
HC: How were the NCAA competitions for fencing this year?
LM: This was my third time competing at the NCAAs. The format of the competition is that the top 24 fencers in every weapon and gender…
HC: How many weapons are there?
LM: There are three. I’m a foil fencer and there were actually three girls there from my team with me (one girl per weapon). We all faced tough competition, but it was great to have more Women’s team members there than ever before.
HC: Do you have any fencing team traditions?
LM: Our coach is 85 years old and has been coaching at Yale for about 40 years, so I’m sure most of what we do at practice and at competitions is part of some sort of tradition. The past few years, the Women’s team has also been making trips to the Yale Farm during Captain’s Practices, which is one of my favorite traditions because we get our workout in working on the farm and then get to stay for Farm pizza afterwards.
HC: What else are you involved with on campus?
LM: I’m co-president of College Council for Care, which is a branch of Care International, an international aid organization. Among other initiatives, we teach in New Haven public schools about global poverty. It’s interesting because a lot of those kids come from low-income backgrounds, so talking about poverty in a global context- why it happens and what you can do about it- actually gets them engaged. I also founded Chew Haven with two of my friends, a blog about the New Haven restaurant scene.
HC: What has been your favorite restaurant or discovery that you found through Chew Haven?
LM: My favorite restaurant since freshman year has been Zaroka – it has such an authentic vibe and the best Chicken Tikka I’ve ever had. We also discovered Sweet Mary’s, have you heard of it? It’s this tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery on Court Street past the Green. Now we make special trips there just to satisfy our cupcake cravings.
HC: Since you live off campus, do you ever cook for yourself?
LM: I do! My goal this year was to try to teach myself how to cook because I feel like if I love food this much I’d better understand how it’s cooked. My favorite two things are cheese and chicken, so I tend to stick to various combinations of those two ingredients.
HC: Any specialties?
LM: I made Chicken Parm, Chicken Marsala…
HC: Is there a recipe that you want to master when you’re more of a pro in the kitchen?
LM: Chicken pot pie!
HC: I always enjoy your Instagrams from your travels, what is the most memorable place you’ve ever gone to?
LM: This year my family and I went to Colombia and discovered this restaurant an hour outside of Bogota. The tiny town it’s in is based around this restaurant – it employs a thousand people. I would go back to Colombia just to go back to this place; after dinner, my sisters and I spent the night dancing salsa (or trying to) with an 80-year-old Colombian man who didn’t speak a word of English.
HC: What are you most looking forward to about Springtime at Yale?
LM: Spring Fling! One of my suitemates is on the Spring Fling Committee and we’ve memorized all of Betty Who’s song lyrics by now.
HC: What are your plans for the summer?
LM: I’m working in New York at Centerview, a boutique investment bank that focuses on consumer/retail companies. I’m really interested in the food industry and think it will be interesting to combine that with finance.
HC: What did you do last summer?
LM: Last summer I worked at Mars Chocolate, the company that makes M & Ms and Snickers.
HC: What kind of stuff did you do while you worked there?
LM: I worked in their Global Chocolate Office (literally, its called that) and I was on the strategy team, so I did a lot of analysis on Mars’ major global competitors.
HC: Did you have to eat all the competitors?
LM: Yep- happily! I also became addicted to pretzel M & Ms, which I had never tried before I saw them in the free vending machines last summer. Apparently, the “Mars 15” becomes an issue when you start working there full time…
HC: Where do you see yourself after college? Food industry?
LM: Yeah, it’s important to me to find a rewarding career that I really love. Eventually I may want to open a restaurant.
HC: What kind of restaurant would you open?
LM: I have a few ideas, but I love the concept of a Dim Sum restaurant that serves American tapas. I went to a restaurant in San Francisco like this, where servers come around with carts with the tapas and you buy them on the spot. I can say from experience that the Dim Sum concept plays into impulse buying!
HC: Any hobbies when you’re not doing work or fencing?
LM: I love hanging out with my dog, Jenny. I consider her my third sister. We even made her an Instagram: Jenny_the_Human.
HC: Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
LM: A good Saturday night starts with a good dinner! Ideally, I’d go from dinner with a big group to Box- especially on a night when all of the 90s songs are playing.
HC: What is your favorite thing to do with all of your friends?
LM: No matter what I’m doing with my friends – getting dinner, studying, Woadsing – we have the best time. I love that while my friends are all intelligent and unique, they are still so down-to-earth and easy to be comfortable around. This tends to be true with most people I have met at Yale, which is what makes this school so special.