A Canadian graduate student is translating her lifelong passion for food into a career dedicated to a safe food supply.
Miranda Tse, 26, is enrolled in the food technology program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). She took a few minutes to speak with FoodProductionDaily about her enthusiasm for food, and her commitment to working toward ensuring food safety.
FPD: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Miranda Tse: Growing up, I enjoyed watching cooking shows which lead to an interest in becoming a chef in my elementary school years. Eventually when I got to high school, I realized I had an interest in sciences also, so when it came time for me to apply to a post-secondary school, I applied into nutritional sciences (a mix of food and sciences).
I realized during that period that being a chef was something I didn't want as a career (a lot of work for not much pay; I've been a kitchen assistant before and it really is hard work).
How and when did you decide upon getting into the food technology curriculum?
After finishing my nutrition degree at the University of British Columbia (UBC), finding a job related to nutrition was difficult in BC so I looked at more schooling and found the food technology program at BCIT. The school is known for providing the practical skills needed for the work place and their high graduate job placement rate was another draw for me for the program.
After completion of the program I would be able to find a position as a quality assurance or quality control position in a food production company and eventually make my way up to a managerial position hopefully.
Please tell me a little bit about how your education’s going—classes have you taken, hands-on learning, and surprising things you’ve learned.
The food the program is about 50% theory, 50% practical and is a two-year program broken into four terms with a set schedule of courses. I have already completed first term which included math (log scales, calculus), intro to food (general overview of food laws and standards, basic nutrition, and local food companies), intro to microbiology, physics, chemistry, communications (business memo writing).
Currently in my second term, I'm taking food microbiology, food processing, communications, organic chemistry, and statistics (there is also physics, but I got course credit for it so I'm not taking it now). Recently we went on a tour to a local food processing company, Vanderpol's, where they process eggs and milk protein.
In general, I'm enjoying my time with this program more than I did at my alma mater as there is more practical application of what I am learning than compared to the heavily theory-based education I received at UBC.
Do you have your heart set on a particular career?
I don't have a particular career in mind, but something in the food industry is what I'm aiming for. QC/QA or R&D are the current options available with the food tech program. So far, with what I've learned, I think being a food safety or HACCP coordinator would be interesting.
Why is studying food technology important?
Everyone has to eat, and food affects everyone. By studying food technology, innovative methods in production and food safety, we can better improve people's nutrition and even their lives in the long term.