Kai Paine ’11

JOB TITLE: Home chef
LOCATION: San Francisco

What was your first position after college? My first position after college was working at a small food start-up called Two Degrees Food. I ended up at that position because I moved to San Francisco and connected with a fellow Trinity alum who was also working there. I learned a lot about the local food scene in San Francisco, and also about start-up culture in general.    

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? A liberal arts education has definitely helped me in shaping my career. It has given me many skills that are easily transferable to all fields, but specifically it has taught me to be a good writer and communicator. I have also started taking classes again in preparing to apply for a master’s in public health program, and my liberal arts education has given me key analytical skills. While I learned these through my course work in language and culture studies, I can transfer them to health-related classes.    

What aspects of your Trinity experience have been important to advancing your career or graduate school experience? Taking Dario Del Puppo’s Italian food class was a key step that led me to where I am today. After that class, I focused all of my other classes toward the study of food. Since graduating, I have worked exclusively at small food companies, focusing specifically on local food.     I now work as a home chef, preparing vegetarian meals from different regions of Italy.

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? I would suggest that students talk to their professors and advisers to see how they can tailor their studies to their specific interests. Such an amazing thing about the education at Trinity is the accessibility of professors. They are there to help you get the most out of those four short years.        

What is the biggest misconception about your field? The biggest misconception about being a language major is that you only study the language. But that’s not the case at all; what translated most to my work after college was what I learned in the culture part of my major-focused classes.