At the zoo, pandas typically don’t go on juice cleanses, and hippopotamuses don’t adhere to a GMO-free diet. But they do need someone to prepare food for them. That’s where Hannah Hayes stepped in. Her first job was a zoo chef.
Hayes recalls walking into the zoo kitchen every morning and reading the recipes listed on a whiteboard that wrapped around the room. Each animal has its own specific diet to follow.
“I’d make fruit salad for parrots, I would create pine cones covered in peanut butter with chocolate chips or whatever the bears wanted to eat. I often would go into the freezer to get out dead baby mice for the snakes,” Hayes says.
Being a chef for a variety of animals can be a pretty daunting task, but she also found it very rewarding.
“By the end of it, I think I felt pretty empowered about what I could accomplish. It made me feel empowered in the kitchen essentially, that I could create things,” Hayes says.