My Internship at McCormick – Making the Choice


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Why McCormick

Enrolling at The Culinary Institute of America, I knew I was going to be interested in the Culinary Science bachelor’s program and wanted to take all the necessary steps along the path to getting into the program. During my first two months as a freshman, I went to a Career Fair to network with potential employers. Not knowing what would come of it, I scheduled four interviews with different companies for the next day! I hadn’t known what I wanted out of an externship yet, so I talked to some of the students who had gone to those sites. The most fascinating stories came from the former McCormick externs! After successful interviews with Disney, country clubs, and research and development sites, I made the tough decision to work in the CPD department at McCormick. I was blown away by all of the different areas I could look forward to working in: teaching Flavor University classes, working with R&D chefs, and also testing McCormick products for consumers. Choosing McCormick as my externship site set me apart from other students who decided to take a more traditional externship route. I feel confident that by working at McCormick, I will have more of an idea of what it takes to go into the culinary science field.

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Tasting the Future

After I arrived at McCormick & Co., Inc., my first week on the job was exciting and already an incredible learning experience! I was totally immersed in seasonings and spices, even though that isn’t all McCormick has to offer. Test kitchen chefs walked me through some of their processes for making recipes perfect for consumers, and my supervisor lets me take the reins in a Thai 101 cooking class. Working hands-on with some of the chefs here at McCormick, I also heard news of a “Flavor Forecast” and decided to find out what that was all about.

I discovered that every year, the company releases McCormick Flavor Forecast®, a series of up-and-coming trends that are relevant to the foodservice industry. For example, news of flavor-packed and portable food is becoming all the rage in 2018, along with healthy drinks and international hot-pot recipes. It’s these kinds of outstanding trends in food that McCormick addresses in its forecast.

The Trends Become Recipes

McCormick test chefs create a variety of recipes that revolve around each trend, testing and perfecting them to be consumer-friendly and trend-worthy. Some of these include:

  • Bao Buns, a “street food” dessert that was my favorite!
  • The “West Indies Hot Pot” that features some of McCormick’s Thai Kitchen ingredients
  • “Drinking to your wellness” recipes that are easy to make and include ingredients like cucumber, apples, oranges or clementine, and a spice.

Stay tuned—there’s plenty more to come from here at McCormick!

By Julia Spondike

Julia Spondike

Julia Spondike

Using all the knowledge I have obtained by going to the CIA and working in the industry, I hope to one day change the culinary world in a new and innovative way. When I achieve the title of “Chef,” I anticipate helping other culinarians and chefs by teaching and mentoring them, as well as hopefully learning something in return from those with different experiences.

Attending CIA was my dream, and now I know I can make a difference in foodservice through my education and externship. I hope to share my life and journeys with the people I encounter, encouraging young culinarians to strive for their dreams like I did mine.
Julia Spondike