Vaughn Vreeland ’15, product supervisor for The New York Times Cooking, is making a name for himself when he’s just 29 years old. Appearing several times on Good Morning America, writing recipes and shooting content in his moderator role with The New York Times and even creating the Forbes 30 Under 30 2023 Media List, Vreeland is a prime example of Elon’s alumni in action.
Vreeland originally came to Elon because he thought he wanted to major in acting, but quickly changed direction, trying to figure out what worked best for him. He tried several different paths, from anthropology to political science, but eventually earned a double major in Media Arts and Entertainment and French. His major naturally led to his involvement in other areas on campus, including Lambda Pi Eta, a communications honor society, and a college internship in communications under Dan Anderson. In this role, he was also able to hone his writing skills, writing for Elon Magazine and the College News website. Another thing I really enjoyed as a student was hosting E-Talk, Elon’s talk show, which was presented through Elon Student Television.
For his major in French, he had the opportunity to study abroad with the help of a merit-based scholarship. He traveled to the south of France in the city of Montpellier, attended university and focused his studies on the visual arts. Then he returned to the same place for his final year. I was able to successfully cross two majors in each of my graduate thesis, write about the power of the director in French cinema as he portrayed underprivileged communities, and explain the use of color theory in Wes Anderson cinema. Elon and continues to this day. “I get emails from people asking me about it,” Vreeland said.
Studying abroad wasn’t Elon’s only experience that affected Vreeland. Outside of her core and extracurricular studies, Vreeland is incredibly involved. He was a member of the Student Government Association for three years and a campus tour guide, eventually becoming a student supervisor and holding the title of Assistant Campus Tours, and supervising other admissions ambassadors. He has also participated in the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, the French Pi Delta Phi Honors Society, and the Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society for Political Science, where he also held various leadership positions.
During the summer of his freshman year, he had the opportunity to intern at a small fashion magazine in New York City as a media intern. As a cinematographer, he knew he wanted to be creative with videography. “I thought fashion would be a good fit for me, but I let this summer feel a little lost in the larger media landscape because I didn’t love it as much as I thought,” said Vreeland. However, one thing I knew was that I was obsessed with New York. Thus began his passion for returning one day to the Big Apple.
After graduation, Vreeland moved to Thailand to teach ESL for six months in an effort to pursue the global citizenship Elon had instilled in him, which he absolutely loved. “I ended up doing a promotional video for the Council of International Educational Exchange and realized that a lot of what I highlighted in that video was food and how it connects us to the Thai people. And to Thai culture,” Vreeland said. He soon realized that food as a topic he was passionate about, and it became a springboard for his current role at The New York Times.
After his time in Thailand, he returned to his hometown of Raleigh to work in a French-inspired pastry shop where he was able to hone his skills as a home chef, and after only a few months made the decision to move back to New York. York. . York.
I moved to New York without a job and lived with two Elon alumni I didn’t know who posted in the Elon NYC Facebook group. Fortunately, she quickly found a job at BuzzFeed, also through an Elon connection, Vreeland said, explaining the importance of Elon’s alumni network.
Vreeland worked at BuzzFeed for about two years making videos for the “Tasty” sub-brand.
“I started making recipe videos that were mostly posted on Facebook and Instagram. After that, I helped set up the YouTube team where we focused on creating showcases for the brand. They were very popular videos. I gained some good knowledge and ended up working with someone He later went to The New York Times as strategic director for NYT Cooking,” Vreeland explained.
He discovered that The New York Times was also looking to build an in-house video team, so he and a colleague went to The Times to help out with this startup. “We’ve been making cooking videos on nytimes.com, YouTube, and Instagram for about two years, and then we started building our team. We now have about thirteen people on the team, which is really exciting,” Vreeland said. .
In his role as Supervising Producer, he oversees recipes and entertaining videos for NYT Cooking. Some of his favorite videos include more casual videos of him in his own kitchen, such as the video of him cooking twenty-seven meals in one week titled Is Cooking Yourself Worth It? or a video of him making his famous Bolognese sauce By Marcella Hazan.
“I think about and create content based around a whole bunch of things in the food scene. For example, last Thanksgiving I created a concept with Ina Garten where I developed a menu using store-bought staples—canned cranberry sauce, canned stuffing mix, and mashed potatoes.” Packaged—which makes it delicious and looks homemade, which is what we called a “good store bought that included a video, six recipes, and a written newspaper clip,” Vreeland said.
In his role, he also develops recipes and acts as an on-camera character. He currently has several shows in the works of the channel and is featured regularly on their social media platforms. He even does occasional national morning and daytime television commercials promoting New York Times cooking recipes, such as appearing on screen. Hello America. Not only does Vreeland produce videos, but he also acts as an editor for recipes that appear on the site, like the ones he talks about. whipped coffee.
Vreeland feels poised in her current career thanks to her Elon upbringing. “I feel like my hands-on education, especially in production classes, really simulates making real-life videos,” Vreeland explained. He recalls a class with Tom Nelson where he had to make a video every week without help, and he said it prepared him for the fast-paced work environment at BuzzFeed where they produced a great deal of content per week. Elon also taught her the power of human connection. “Without the connections I had there — whether it was with teachers, colleagues, or people I met on tour — I don’t know where I would be,” Vreeland said. . One thing he also learned as a student is that he works better under pressure. He said that even though it doesn’t happen often, he still sometimes shoots all night like he did in college.
Vreeland believes that Elon graduates succeed because they receive a comprehensive experiential education, which better prepares them for life after college. The advice he would give to current students is: “Define your comfort zone and push these boundaries. moments où j’ai appris le plus sur moi-même et ce que i can.For him, looking for opportunities early on and asking lots of questions helped him form strong bonds that helped him get to where he is today.
As for Freeland’s future, he said: “Stay tuned. And Phoenix is leaving!”
If you’d like to try some of Vaughn Vreeland’s New York Times cooking recipes, check this out. here. Also check out his latest features on Forbes Top 30 Under 30 List for 2023 here.