Spencer Schmerzler graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in 2013. In five and a half years, he has cruised the world – getting paid to do so. As a host of America’s Test Kitchen, aboard Holland America Line cruises, Schmerzler’s work has taken him from Croatia to the Caribbean. All the while he maintains his SUNY Cobleskill ties.
“Right off the bat SUNY Cobleskill presented me [with] limitless opportunities and confidence that made me feel like I could achieve anything I set my mind to,” says Schmerzler. “My time at SUNY Cobleskill taught me to [approach] the world with passion, love, and humility.”
It also taught Schmerzler to explore the culinary world through any and every open door. After graduating he co-opened a food production and catering company, using ingredients grown and produced in the region. He also worked for three-years as the head chef at a Department of Environmental Conservation summer camp, and at Wellington’s Herbs and Spices, in Middleburgh.
Experiences in kitchens, campsites, and cooking classes all had one commonality, Schmerzler says, when, in 2016, he found himself again looking for career opportunities. “The key component was interacting with the people I cooked for, and making moments that would open people’s minds when it came to food.”
Taking advice Schmerzler says was given to him from three separate SUNY Cobleskill professors on graduation day, that “the world is your oyster,” the Long Island native landed his dream job. Through America’s Test Kitchen he has cooked in more than 50 countries – and his opportunities continue to grow. “What better way to understand food and different cultures than to actually experience [them],” says Schmerzler.
He has no plans to slow down. “I have been in this job for the last two years, and every day has been nothing short [of] an incredible journey,” says Schmerzler. “‘The world is your oyster.’ SUNY Cobleskill showed me just that.”
Feature photo: Spencer Schmerzler in America’s Test Kitchen aboard a Holland America Line ship.