Faces of NGI: Q&A with Ruby Glaser, Admissions Manager Posted September 1, 2017 The NGI community is made up of faculty, staff, and students from diverse backgrounds. In this series, we’re featuring a staff member or chef instructor to give you a taste of who we are and how we each contribute to creating a quality, health-supportive culinary education. NGI welcomed Ruby Glaser as Admissions Manager last summer. She comes from a background in admissions and education administration and has a passion for all things gardening, baking, and cooking. Read on to learn more about Ruby and how she’s on a mission to help individuals who share the same values as NGI find their way into our kitchens. Can you tell us a bit about your background? I grew up in Connecticut and eventually moved to Eastern Washington for college. While living on the West Coast I learned a lot about the local food movement and found a new appreciation for the great outdoors. I then spent a few years in Seattle enjoying the coffee, the food, the rain, and the mountains while working in admissions and education administration. I moved back to the East Coast in 2015 and now live in Queens with my fiancée and my dog. You have prior experience working in admissions. What is the most rewarding aspect of working in this field? I love connecting with individuals and seeing them light up when they realize how perfect a program is for them. It can be overwhelming to try and sort through all the academic opportunities that exist and to find the right one for you. It brings me joy when I can help facilitate that process and help people begin their journey to pursue their passion! How did you become interested in food? I went to college in a rural Eastern Washington town that is known for its wine, onions, and wheat. I had never lived somewhere with such a vibrant agricultural scene, and weekly trips to the farmer’s market really inspired me. When I moved to Seattle, I had so much fun checking out different restaurants and trying new-to-me foods like geoduck. Our apartment there had a backyard and we began experimenting with raised beds and what we called our “bucket garden.” Growing my own food gave me so much satisfaction, and that spiraled into canning, dehydrating, jamming, and other homesteading ventures. That’s when I started to be more intentional about knowing about where my food was coming from and I realized how important sourcing and sustainability were to me personally, as well as for our communities. What drew you to Natural Gourmet Institute? When I moved to NYC, it was a huge culture shock for me. I was having a hard time adjusting and knew I needed to join a community of people who also wanted to spend their days talking about fermentation crocks and where to buy heirloom apple varieties. I also love working in education and wanted to be in an academic environment, so when I found NGI I couldn’t believe how perfect it was for me! To be able to incorporate my love of food, community, and sustainability along with my passion for education was my dream. The more I learned about NGI’s philosophy and the accomplishments of its graduates, the more I knew that I had to be a part of it. You joined NGI as Admissions Manager last summer. What has been your favorite part of the experience? There are so many great things about being part of the NGI community. I love getting to know students from around the globe, learning new culinary skills from our chefs, connecting with the larger food community in NYC, and getting to enjoy all the delicious food that our students learn to prepare! What are your goals as Admissions Manager in helping prospective students break into the culinary industry? As we say here at NGI, I love helping our students turn their passion into purpose. Our students are truly the future of food, and I feel so fortunate to get to meet so many of them. As I’ve said, I feel very strongly about how we produce our food and what is going into our bodies, and it feels incredible to find those individuals who share these values and to help them find their way into our kitchens. Food should be delicious and nutritious, and it is amazing to help create a student body that feels the same way. We are facing so many new challenges when it comes to food production and the health of our planet, and NGI is helping create chefs who are conscious of that and want to help others learn as well. You have a passion for gardening. Can you share a few gardening tips as we head into the fall season? First of all, it isn’t too late for a fall garden! Lots of leafy greens will be ready for a late fall harvest if planted now, and radishes typically only take about 30 days to mature. You can also think about planting garlic to harvest next summer – you want to get it in the ground 6-8 weeks before the frost date. Now is also the time to start looking at seed catalogs and planning out your garden for next summer. I encourage folks to look at heirloom seed providers, as well as seed saver programs and seed exchanges – there are so many incredible varieties that you just don’t find in the store!