I tried my first lobster at the tender age of four. To my parents’ chagrin, it was love at first chewy, buttery bite. From then on, lobster became a tradition at every birthday, and was often more important than the cake.

What does that say about me? Well for one, that I’ve been hooked on lobster for about 17 years. You might also guess that I grew up around here, on Boston’s North Shore. My family and I have been lucky enough to live just steps away from the ocean, which means that fresh seafood is as standard as our toasted buns (with our lobster rolls, that is). It’s probably best to note that despite temptation, I still don’t call it “lobstah.”

That childhood experience should also tell you that I’ve been a life-long fan of food. And while I realize that most people would fall under the “fan of food” category, I simply can’t remember a time when it didn’t play a significant role in my life.

My interest kicked off after I discovered the Food Network (boy, do I wish it was the other way around!) and before I knew it, I was hooked. After spending a semester in Paris this past year, it was obvious that food was my calling. I was amazed at the crates of fresh produce that my skinny host mom lugged back from French markets for her family of nine, plus two foreign adoptees. She’d press fresh grape juice that was naturally sweeter than any juice you’ll find in a bottle, and the smell of her homemade bread would wake me from the deepest slumber. One of the best memories of my stay in Europe was on a visit to a Tuscan villa, where I had pesto that was SO unbelievably good, I naively asked if they sold it by the jar… how American.

When I returned home, the enormity of our supermarkets and vacuum-sealed orange cheeses felt so disconnected to me. Needless to say, I missed the friendly faces at my “fromagerie.”

Now a senior in college (yikes, already!?), I’m studying French and Broadcast Media Arts at Elon University in North Carolina. I strive to make informed choices when buying food and enjoy making frequent trips to local markets and co-ops. Those efforts to continue my appreciation for foods’ origins have taken me on a crazy culinary adventure: veganism. And although that meant passing on the lobster tradition this year, I’ve learned so much about respecting our food and our community. Rather than seeing what I “can’t” eat, I’m paying attention to the quality of what I do eat. I’m passionate about understanding where my food comes from, and hope to inspire that curiosity in others.

That’s why I couldn’t be more thrilled to share that passion with Chefs Collaborative. As their new Digital Media Intern, I expect that my hunger to explore (and downright hunger to eat) will lead me to new adventures in sustainability and a greater gastronomic understanding. With a video camera in hand, I hope to bring you along with me!