Catching live fish for dinner was this alum’s favorite project at Thrillist

At Zauo, New Yorkers can get a taste of Japanese fishing life in their cuisine. The new restaurant allows patrons to catch live fish to cook for their dinner, right on the premises. Graphic design alumna Jennifer Osaki (BFA ’17) ate there for work, where she grabbed a fishing pole and bait to snag her dinner. And you can watch the whole experience on Facebook.

Osaki is a producer at Thrillist, where she covers food and entertainment for millions of viewers online. She says her video on the novelty Japanese restaurant was the most comprehensive of her career, “tying culture, fun and food into one piece.” She was the only producer who was able to land an in-person interview with the company president while he was visiting from Japan. The chefs at Zauo cooked every part of the fish for Osaki—down to the bone.

In her coverage, Osaki connected the unique experience to the cultural value of diners taking part in catching their meal.

“I was able to weave in a story about people’s relationship with food,” she said in an interview with VCU Alumni, “the fun fishing process, the delicious food and even some unfamiliar ways the fish is prepared.

At Thrillist, Osaki brainstorms with her team each day to choose the kind of video content they want to create for Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Then, they head out to the streets of New York to shoot footage at the various restaurant and new attractions around the city.

“More often than not spontaneous things happen,” she said, “such as a new menu item from Taco Bell is in the office for us to taste test or a giant trampoline appears. Due to our content coverage, we always get to try things and food out before it’s released to the public. It’s always an unpredictable day!”

Even as graphic design student at VCUarts, Osaki said that she would work food-themed content and motion graphics into her class projects. But she considers her internship opportunities as key to helping her get hired at Thrillist.

“My graphic design internship at International Secret Agents let me dabble in video production, interview celebrities and do some shooting and editing,” she said. “That helped me get an internship at Insider and then ultimately got me to where I am today.”