Saturday, March 15, 2014

Interns Chase Culinary, Not Coding, Dreams at Facebook

Denika Boyd and Aaron Tutein never imagined they'd have the opportunity to work at Facebook, even as interns. As residents of St. Croix, an island district of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, money is tight and few people ever get an opportunity to leave the island, especially for a job in Silicon Valley. Neither Boyd nor Tutein knew how to write a line of computer code or hack a firewall, and they didn't have experience building apps, or marketing tech products, either. But none of that mattered to the Virgin Islanders, who both finished two-week Facebook internships last Friday. After all, even at the social network, culinary interns are meant to cook, not hack. "We're great with cooking and feeding the [other] guys that hack and create apps and all of that," says Tutein with a laugh. "I mean, they gotta eat. That's where we come in." In two weeks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., the duo did everything the company's culinary employees do, from ordering ingredients from the suppliers to preparing food on the cooking line for Facebook's hungry engineers. Boyd and Tutein even had their own embroidered chef coats emblazoned with the company logo. They were Facebook's first culinary interns from the Virgin Islands, and if all goes according to plan, they won't be the last. A chance meeting Tutein and Boyd first met then-Facebook executive chef Josef Desimone last April on their home turf. Desimone visited St. Croix alongside fellow Facebook culinary colleagues Dean Spinks and Tony Castellucci to serve as a judge for A Taste of St. Croix, an island wide-cooking competition included in the week-long St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, a community fundraiser. As part of the trip, the Facebook chefs spent time working with CTEC, a local vocational high school with a budding culinary program. It was there that Desimone met Boyd, 20, and Tutein, 21, culinary students taking the class as part of CTEC's adult education program.

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