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Masters Food Science, Chinese

July 22, 2017

When I was a little girl, my family’s restaurant kitchen was my wonderland. I loved to wander around it to see what was going on. I became increasingly inquisitive about different ingredients at a very young age and choosing between different culinary styles. I grew up in an environment that was heavily oriented to discussions of food which has a lot to do with why I am now a foodie; even operating a food blog to share and recommend the finest of cuisines to my followers. During my gourmet tours around the world, I learned to appreciate how food is a symbol of our culture as well as a necessity for life.

As a sophomore in college I spent almost 2 months in Africa as a volunteer working on different projects, one of which was business development for a hotel and restaurant company where I performed market research in order to develop a promotion strategy based on the identification of possible strategic niches. I also became very much a fan of Nigerian cuisine: Eba, fufu and Iyan, all made of yam and cassava. This experience motivated me to learn a great deal about African culinary processes and their relationship to both culture and history. War, drought, and plagues of locusts are only some of the factors that have worked against a fuller development of African agricultural productions systems and I especially enjoyed speaking at length with local government officials in Nigeria telling me the principal reasons why modernization has been such a challenge in Africa and why a quarter of the population still suffers from a scarcity of food. Since then, I have paid special attention to the issue of food sustainability in developing countries.

I worked in an accounting firm for 2.5 years and one of my clients was one of China’s most successful high-end restaurant groups. I discovered that they were losing money as a result of the inefficiency of their food supply chain, resulting in “hidden” costs which rendered their operation unsustainable for the long-term. I feel that this working experience will help me to excel in Food Studies, since principles of accounting and professional ethics, accountability and transparency, are of the greatest relevance for studying how to develop sustainable food sources for generations to come; and this is especially true in the Developing World.

This year, I returned to my hometown in China and I am working for the Hunan Culinary Industry Promotion Association. Translating the work Chop Suey--A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States has made me more motivated than ever to pursue graduate school in Food Studies. I see our splendid culture and history of Chinese food as an excellent foundation upon which to think critically and appreciatively about the food of other cultures. I could not be more animated than I am by stories and legends of food, which always intrigue me and provoke me to ask endless questions. Through food, I increasingly like to think of myself as a sort of ambassador of Chinese culture. Moreover, I am concerned with the challenges faced by Chinese entrepreneurs in our food service industry and local farmers. I look forward to a professional lifetime of helping them to solve their problems, fostering communication and collaboration between farmers, restaurants, food companies and customers.

Now, I feel like it’s time to step into the next stage of my life and give my all to food. Chinese society is now facing tremendous challenges and much creativity and hard work will be called for in order for us to successfully manage the rapid development of our food and agriculture sectors in China, building more sustainable agricultural systems as a result of enhanced communication and collaboration. I always ask myself: how can I facilitate healthy and efficient food system development as effectively as possible. Real social change cannot be achieved without people-centered development under policies set for common good; and I look forward to working with people from different sectors towards that end. Your competitive program at XXXX University is my first choice because of my profound admiration for Steinhardt’s Food Studies Program and top-notch faculty and research opportunities--alumni networks that will provide me with much-needed resources and globalized guidance and perspective in pursuing my professional goals. Your multidisciplinary curriculum, strikes to the heart of contemporary issues and I admire your cross-sector collaboration that will help me to develop a strategic mindset to tackle sophisticated challenges in today’s world. I look forward to inspiring mentors and colleagues who share similar visions.

I hope to someday build and operate my own consulting firm in China helping farmers, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations concerned with our food supply and distribution. I believe that earning my Masters Degree at Steinhardt will provide me with the finest preparation possible to achieve my goals.

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