Gross taught stu­dents how to make a frittata on Monday. | Pixabay

Lily Gross is a Bon Appetit fellow who travels with Bon Appetit to col­leges around the country to work with stu­dents on sus­tain­ability issues. Gross visited Hillsdale this week and taught a cooking class.

Can you tell me about your job with Bon Appetit and how you are pro­moting sus­tain­ability in that position?

I am a fellow, which is a program that Bon Appetit has had for the last ten years. They take stu­dents that have just grad­uated from college and who care about food system issues and sus­tain­ability. We work to drive change by vis­iting seven schools each semester where Bon Appetit is the provider while also sup­porting stu­dents in whatever kind of systems they’re working on related to sus­tain­ability or food system issues.

How did you first get involved with Bon Appetit?

During college at Denison Uni­versity, I worked a lot with the Bon Appetit team as a dining com­mittee member. We worked on various sus­tain­ability ini­tia­tives and bridging the gap between the stu­dents and the dining team. Through this, I got to know the team very well and knew I wanted to work with them, but I had no idea the fel­lowship existed. 

I also did research on Bon Appetit my senior year, I inves­ti­gated their sourcing policies and com­pared them to the sourcing policies of restau­rants in Granville, Ohio, which is where Denison is located. I wanted to compare how their envi­ron­mental impact would look, and it was really eye-opening. 

I expected to find some major flaw in Bon Appetit’s policies but the restau­rants I inter­viewed had no idea where their food came from and didn’t care, but the con­ver­sa­tions I had with Bon Appetit were very dif­ferent. They knew where every­thing came from and where it was grown. After a dining com­mittee meeting last spring, our general manager men­tioned the fel­lowship idea to me and I pursued the job and was happy to get it because it felt like the perfect fit.

What do you like best about your campus visits?

What I really like about my campus visits is I feel like there is a lot of variety in how they come together. So at Hillsdale, I’m speaking in four physics classes and one biology class, and on Thursday at 4 p.m. I am also giving a pre­sen­tation in col­lab­o­ration with an orga­ni­zation called the Roots Project. 

Also, teaching college stu­dents how to cook healthy, easy food. The hope here is to help stu­dents feel more com­fortable around food. Then at other schools, some­times stu­dents will come to me with ideas about imple­menting projects. And because there are three other fellows throughout the country, I will call the others up to col­lab­orate on helping stu­dents with their ideas.

What are some of your favorite activ­ities when you’re not working? 

I’m from Michigan, so it’s been really inter­esting moving to the Twin Cities, and I’ve been working really hard to establish a com­munity and make new friends there. I like being taken out of my comfort zone, so that’s meant that I actually joined a women’s hockey league and play with them a few times a week.

What are you planning to do in the cooking class here at Hillsdale?

“On Monday I taught the softball team how to make frit­tatas, and then I’m teaching the baseball team how to make frit­tatas tonight. I had reached out to the coaches of several ath­letics teams here, and thos