Gusto: Food for Thought While abroad in Paris, Nicholas Borbolla dreamt of starting a food-based literary magazine.

Paris: It’s the premier location for art, history, culture, and fashion. It’s also where Nicholas Borbolla, MCAS ’21, began toying with the idea of starting a food-themed literary magazine at Boston College. And what better place to learn about food?

Borbolla was studying abroad over the summer—taking a course called Food Writing In Paris—when he was inspired to make it happen. Together, with his classmates Kayla Causey, MCAS ’19, and Madison Polkowitz, CSOM ’19, he began to build Gusto from the ground up, first by delegating roles, and then by creating a layout, formatting, and drafting the mission. He started off by studying indie magazines that are self-published.

“By seeing how much those magazines could get done, I was inspired to make this happen,” Borbolla said.

Finding people to help with the magazine was one of the group’s biggest hurdles. It can be difficult to find a group of talented, dedicated people willing to support your cause—especially if you’re dealing with college students who don’t have that much free time on their hands.

“Paris was really helpful to get people involved,” Borbolla said.

Quite a few of the current editors met Borbolla while studying abroad and loved the idea. In terms of current involvement, Gusto is playing it by ear. The staff is small, but hopes to grow in the future. The current group of members does it all—while they do have individual titles, they had to put their skills together to create the publication.

“For example, my business manager [Polkowitz] edits all the photos,” Borbolla said. “We’re doing it as we go.”

It’s easy to notice the small staff’s effort and contributions while flipping through Gusto—one might wonder, how did so few people piece this entire thing together? The magazine is incredibly professional, from the skillfully made graphics to the fantastic writing that graces each page. It’s truly impressive that such a small collection of students was able to create a publication of this quality from the get-go.

“There’s no set structure yet,” Borbolla said. “We currently have eight to nine people who do all the work—we’re just doing it as we go.”

“Every single important figure in my life has a relationship with food,” Borbolla said. “My mom, my dad—their relationship with food is indicative of their personalities. The class over the summer taught me how to put that into words.”

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or Bobolla, food has more meaning than it does for the average person. His relationship with food is both personal and reminiscent. To him, food is an experience, and an individual one at that.

“Every single important figure in my life has a relationship with food,” Borbolla said. “My mom, my dad—their relationship with food is indicative of their personalities. The class over the summer taught me how to put that into words.”

Food clearly runs in the family: Borbolla’s stepmom recently opened a gelato shop, seemingly on a whim. His stepmom’s mixture of spontaneity and drive inspired him to work toward his goal of creating Gusto.

“My mom is a nutritionist, so her conception of what food should be is very different from [that of] my dad, who eats for pleasure,” Borbolla said. “With me, there’s the part that needs to nurture and take care of myself and the other that likes to indulge.”

Aside from personal experience, Borbolla was also very inspired by the life of Anthony Bourdain.

“The way his TV show was about food, but mostly about people, was really inspiring to me,” Borbolla said. “And those are the kinds of stories that BC needs to hear about more. It’s the ethos of what the magazine is.”

Borbolla argues that enlightening yourself to other people’s experiences with food is crucial to personal growth—because learning what we consume “can give us back some of the humanity we lose in the doldrums of our duties.”

The magazine’s mission lists three guiding principles about food: “1. That anyone can cook, 2. That food, and the experience of eating, should be thoroughly enjoyed, and 3. That whatever one does, one should do it with vigor.”

This mission will allow BC students to share their experiences—essays, recipes, and restaurant reviews—with other food-lovers in the community. Writers are encouraged to discuss how each of these is relevant to culture, whether it be in America, New England, or BC.

“BC has its own perception of what it means to be American,” Borbolla said. “I think food, more than anything else, makes them more willing to try new things.”

“People are closed off inside the BC bubble,” Borbolla said. “Food opens people up to things beyond their knowledge.”

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orbolla believes that Gusto will encourage students to open their eyes to different cultures, traditions, and ways of life.

“People are closed off inside the BC bubble,” Borbolla said. “Food opens people up to things beyond their knowledge.”

On Thursday, the first edition of Gusto was officially released. Three hundred copies of the 32-page publication were distributed around campus, with special focus in the dining halls.

“Right now it’s about gauging demand,” Borbolla said.

While the publication is not yet registered with the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), it is part of Gusto’s future plan. Even though it’s not currently registered with BC, it is funded by the International Liberal Arts.

“We didn’t even have weekly meetings,” Borbolla said. “We’re just building the structure.”

Borbolla hopes Gusto will continue to grow—the small staff contains a fair amount of graduating seniors—within the coming years. The magazine is set to publish once a semester and should be registered with OSI for next year’s involvement fair.

“We want in-person meetings, more delegated positions,” Borbolla said. “We want a multitude of voices.”

“If there’s something that you want to do, you can’t spend time worrying if you can or can’t,” Borbolla said. “You just need to do it.”

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f there’s one thing Borbolla has made evident, it’s that hard work will always pay off. Just a few short months ago, he and his friends had a dream and followed it. And even though the staff was small and the logistics weren’t set in stone, Gusto was published the same semester it was proposed.

“If there’s something that you want to do, you can’t spend time worrying if you can or can’t,” Borbolla said. “You just need to do it.”

Featured Images Courtesy of Gusto

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