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Historic Foodways is proud to introduce you to our not one, but TWO new apprentices! Tiffany Fisk and Tyler D. Wilson joined Master Frank Clark, Journeyman Barbara Shearer and Senior Apprentice Kimberly Costa over the summer of 2016. Since then we have been coming together to create a new, innovative and exciting new path for Historic Foodways.
Tiffany began her Colonial Williamsburg tenure as a Summer Intern in 2014 and ’15, and then joined the Colonial Williamsburg family as an Orientation Interpreter in February 2016. She came to us as an experienced Foodways historian. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s in History and Public History from Lehigh University. Tiffany has also worked as an editorial assistant for an international magazine, and as a writer for a national non-profit.
Tyler also joined us as a Summer Intern in 2015 while studying before going off to England to History, Art History, and Religion at VCU and then jetted off to England to study at the University of the West of England in Bristol. He also worked Park Ranger for Petersburg National Battlefield and later at the United States Army Quartermaster Museum before spending a year teaching at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg, Virginia.
Both of our new Apprentices share a love of food and its amazing history. Tiffany said what she loves most about historic cooking is “learning to rely upon my senses and reconnecting with how our ancestors prepared food. I am also fascinated by the comparison of 18th-century ingredients to our modern ingredients. Our food has changed quite a bit, so I’m quite interested in exploring those changes more thoroughly.”
Tyler also loves sharing the stories of the past with today’s visitors. “Food can tell so many stories beyond that of cooking and food. I love making discoveries where I know I can teach that same subject through the lens of food: what’s going on through history, and how food helps tell the stories of those changes.”
All of us on the Foodways team brings our own nuanced perspective and interests. Tiffany said she’s hoping to contribute not only her curiosity and need-to-know, but her solid research and writing skills. “Over the years, our fellow 18th-century cooks from various historic sites have looked to this department for guidance and inspiration. I know I did before I ever came here. There is a strong foundation here and I’m excited to help take our research to the next level.”
Already known for his bubbly personality, Tyler would like to “bring a bright, young, vibrant work ethic to the kitchen, one that helps build and strengthen our team. Most importantly, I hope to push myself, our team, and the Foundation to raise the bar and question everything, challenge one another, argue ideas, and grow as historians to create a more enlightening, educational, and thought provoking experience for the next generation of visitors.”
Senior staff members will actively mentor Tiffany and Tyler along their road to Journeymen status. So what do our new apprentices foresee on that path?
“I am interested in learning as much as I can,” said Tiffany. “Good historians are always learning. The past may have already happened, but we learn new things about how it happened every day. We are also fortunate to have a team made up of people with very different backgrounds. We all come to the table with something to offer. I’m am thrilled for the opportunity to learn as much as I can from everyone. So while I’m confident in what I do know, I am also acutely aware that I have much to learn. Everyone does… which is why we are here in the first place, right?”
Tyler had a different take. He said, “What are the people outside of Williamsburg and minorities eating, and what story does that tell us about the American experience as a whole? Virginia was such an agricultural mecca for its time, but there hasn’t been enough research on what those Virginia farmers, of all wealth brackets, were eating. I want to dig a little deeper there. Minorities and what they are eating are crucial to understanding the birth of the culture of this nation. How did the minorities, whether that be ethnic or religious, help build a Virginia, or more broadly, American cuisine? I’m going to have a lot of fun with that one!”
Please come by the Palace and the Armory kitchens to congratulate and meet Tyler and Tiffany!