This week, USFSP Cook Master's club presented a Foodie Q&A Panel for students to meet and converse with food industry professionals. Once the floor opened up to questions from amateur foodies it was pretty clear what the overall message of the night was: “Put in the time, and take the chance.”

The Panelists

The panel included; Andy Salyards, Founder and Owner of the Urban Group family; Shawn Wenner, Founder of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine; Janet Krietemeyer Keeler, USFSP’s own Journalism Professor/Author/Former Food and Travel Editor for TBT; Michael Buttacavoli, Executive chef at Cena; and Kristina Rice, Food Stylist and Celebrity Personal chef. The talk began with each of the panelists giving a brief overview of their journey to getting to their current careers and their struggles along the way.

Follow Your Curiosity

It is easy to forget that so many successful foodies started in a profession that had nothing to do with where they are today. People fail. Our generation tends to be viewed as wanting instant gratification, but before we get discouraged, the panelists were quick to give some insight.

“The misconception is that everyone knows exactly what they want to do from the beginning.” For Janet Keeler, she realized that her passions for journalism and food dovetailed, “at the end of the day, something was created that wasn’t there at the beginning of the day – whether that be a story or a pie.”

Shawn Wenner shared his personal experience when he first began Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine, “It was gut wrenching to pursue something with uncertainty. Follow your curiosity while you’re young and without all of the responsibilities that pile on when you get older.”

No Ragrets (Well Maybe Some)

Toward the end of the discussion, the panelists shared some of their biggest regrets with college foodies -

Not trying right away because of fear of failure. Not taking chances when they present themselves. Not feeling qualified enough for a position that you could most likely strive in. Not fostering relationships while still in school

The Ole College Try

It is easy for a college student to be paralyzed with fear when it comes to the thought of graduation and taking on the real world. We can prepare for that journey by networking within our major and throughout campus. Remember, take the leap when an opportunity presents itself that may seem terrifying - failure can turn into a different opportunity all together. Let's adult, foodies.