The Collaborative Kitchen: An Independent Blog by Olivia Jones


This blog series is part of a larger initiative started by Olivia Jones, fall 2017 marketing intern. “The Collaborative Kitchen” is a site that welcomes all food lovers to explore ramblings, reflections, and delicious and easy original recipes. The goal of this blog series is to share Olivia’s passion for food in posts that are both thought-provoking and fun—to educate, create, and promote a positive food narrative around healthy habits, collaborative cooking, and meaningful meals.

Happy World Food Day! It’s only fitting that today’s delicious holiday coincides with The Collaborative Kitchen’s inaugural post. Today we’re celebrating food in all forms, picked fresh or prepared by hands all over the world. In line with this positive narrative, let’s do some diving in and debunking.

I’ve been obsessed with food my whole life, and by default, it’s almost always on my mind. After 21 years of this madness, you’d think I’d be a grub guru. The truth is, the more I think I know, the more I am surprised and enlightened by what I do not know. My inner-database is dynamic and constantly updating as I learn more about nutrition through media, classes, and shared experiences.

One thing I do know, however, is that food is a good thing.

Groundbreaking news, I know. But it’s something that people so often forget in a culture that praises certain foods and demonizes others. From internet ads that promise perfection by staying away from “fattening foods,” to the constant media bombardment of food-shaming messages, it seems as though the only remaining “healthy” options are kale and protein powder.

But before you toss out your bread and butter, re-evaluate the source. More often than not, these scare tactics are used to sell. It’s crucial to break down these meal myths. Everyone’s seen the classic commercial where we have a hungry person (usually a woman) trying to land on a snack, facing the token tradeoff of some delectable sweet versus the “healthier” option.

This type of ad is a textbook example of the binary I’m referring to when I say that certain foods are “demonized,” while others are praised. But in swearing off foods, we are both underestimating the human body and limiting ourselves from the simple experience of a tasty treat.

The point is—in its natural state—all food is good food so long as it is balanced. And at the end of the day, the key ingredient in the food we consume is healthy, satisfying energy. To get the most energy from your food, check out USDA’s MyPlate Checklist simulation, which can be adjusted depending on age, BMI, and calorie intake.  

So there you have it—it’s science. Thank goodness we can still eat cheese, amirite? Phew.

Speaking of which, I’m about to hit you with one of my favorite mashups of all time: pizza and fall, all nestled in a warm and cozy little boat.

Now I’m the kind of person that nearly weeps at the first orange leaf, but I promise no exaggeration when I say these are some of my favorite autumn treats. Hard to believe something that’s this melty can be nutritious, but with this recipe we’ve got Mother Nature decked out in her finest, a la veggie couture.  

Dare you to read on.



I first discovered spaghetti squash boats when I was perusing Pinterest one fateful, fall-enthused day. Upon spotting this recipe, the PSL-drinking, cozy sweater-wearing, Halloween-fangirling fire in me sparked like crazy. I had to make these boats of gooey, cheesy, veggie-loaded bliss. And so I did. And I’ve been making them ever since.

(serves 4)

  • 2 spaghetti squashes, washed
  • 2 c. favorite tomato sauce*
  • 1 c. fresh grated mozzarella (low-fat/part-skim is fine)
  • 8-16 turkey meatballs**
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Parmesan, to taste (optional)


* I used Trader Joe’s “Roasted Garlic Marinara,” but any tomato-based pasta/pizza sauce will work.
** Depending on how hungry you are. I usually use 4 meatballs per whole squash, cutting the meatballs into halves before placing them on top.

If vegetarian, feel free to sub in veggie meatballs or any other protein! If vegan, ditto, and switch out the cheese for vegan cheese.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  2. Make sure spaghetti squashes are rinsed and sticker is peeled. Then, poke holes all over each with a sharp knife. One by one, place in the microwave for 3-5 minutes (this will soften them up and make them easier to slice in half).

  3. Allow squash to cool before slicing each in half with a knife. Turn squash half-side up on a cooking sheet and rub olive oil over the top, leaving the seeds intact (these will be scraped out later). Season generously with salt and black pepper, then place half-side down on the cooking sheet.

  4. Once the oven is finished preheating, place the cooking sheet with the squash in the oven and bake for about an hour until fragrant and tender. Remove from oven when cooked, place halves facing up again, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. While you’re waiting, crank the oven temperature up to 400° F.

  5. Scoop seeds out of the spaghetti squash using a large spoon—these can be discarded, or washed and saved to prepare later on!

  6. Using two forks, scrape the inside flesh of the squash to create “spaghetti” strings, leaving them inside of the skin, and discarding any additional seeds. Add ½ cup of tomato sauce and mix in with the squash until all of the flesh is coated. Nestle in the meatballs and sprinkle ¼ cup of mozzarella over the top of each half. Divide the teaspoon of dried oregano between the halves. (This will give it that good “pizza” flavor!)

  7. Place spaghetti squash in the oven for an additional 15 minutes until all cheese is melted. During the last five minutes, turn the oven settings to “BROIL” to give the cheese that pizza-like bubble and browning.

  8. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and serve in shallow bowls. For an extra sharpness, sprinkle the tops with fresh grated parmesan. Dig in!*

*When you dig in… make sure you don’t get too overzealous. “Pizza burn” doesn’t end with pizza (lesson learned the hard way by the roof of my mouth).



Fable for Four, Please: Meet the Interns of Fall 2017

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In with the cool breeze comes an even cooler set of fall 2017 interns. Bustling in from North to South, East to West, and right down the street, this bunch *leaves* its mark on FableVision with inspired ideas, amazing art, and creative confluence. In collaborating on a series of impressive independent projects, from film and food to art and adventures, they are painting life colorfully with stories that aim to shape and change the world for the better.

Animate your day with these faces by getting to know their hobbies, hideaways, and holiday snack loyalties - and get ready to *fall* for these Fantastic Four.

Interested in learning more about FableVision’s internship program? Check out the internships page for details and apply for yourself!

Olivia Jones

Intern Specialization: Marketing
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
School and field of study: Tufts University/Film and Media Studies

What brings you here? (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I first heard of FableVision this past summer on a 100 degree day in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. I was interning in the digital department at Freeman Company, working on marketing projects for their event-related products and services, but - having also completed a film internship at Bona Fide productions in LA last January - was hoping to get back into creative media. When my major advisor at Tufts told me about FableVision, I thought I’d cracked the sweet spot. So far my hypothesis hasn’t failed me.


What does a day in the studio look like for you?
Having acquired my tall, nonfat, sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce latte from Starbucks (™) - extra shot of espresso, extra shot of eyerolls from from the baristas - I get into the office around 9:30 a.m. After stepping into my weekly marketing team meeting with Sarah, Mitul, and David, I amp myself up for a day that might hold anything from writing case studies, to drafting social media, to working on my independent project, which is a three-piece blog series about food positivity (think photo to your right, in text).

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I love the collaborative nature of the studio. Being able to walk into such a creative group that’s always having fun - and getting to take part in that dynamic - is such a treat.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
How abstract are we going? Sometimes when Matt Brelsford, FableVision developer extraordinaire, is at home he leaves his video chat open on an extra computer in the studio so he doesn’t feel left out of the fun. I’d love to teleport myself through his screen and play with his cat.

My “official” answer would be Leigh Hallisey, FableVision’s Creative Director. Having the chance to piece together stories as beautifully as she does would be a challenging and exciting exercise in creative writing.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
Still using my imagination, no matter in what context. I feel strongly that my biggest asset on any team is the ability to get lost in my head, and to find treasure in my imagination.

Where is your happy place?
Sitting at a meal with my family. No doubt my sense of storytelling came from my dad’s winding anecdotes recounting everything from campaigning in Texas with my politicking grandfather to riding a motorcycle down the steps of the Mussolini building in Rome.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn
I hope this is purely hypothetical. But if I had to choose, I’d go with PSL - where’s the pumpkin anyways???

Hang Li

Intern specialization: Art
Hometown: China
School and field of study: Savannah College of Art and Design/Animation

What brings you here? (How did you hear about FableVision?)  
I like to watch illustrative animated short films on Youtube. One day, I watched Keepers of the Flame, by FableVision which gave me a deep impression. I truly enjoyed the beautiful poem and the illustrative style. After watching the film, I searched for FableVision on Google and met the wonderful studio.

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
It is such a fun day. I enjoy animated films together with my colleagues in a group and discuss the animation technologies. My favorite is the idea of “bringing the characters to life.” Sometimes animators need to act out the role of the characters themselves. Actually, animators are actors; a good animator needs to be a good actor.

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
The people, definitely. I love the friendly and creative atmosphere of our team. My colleagues make FableVision like a family to me.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
Hannah O’Neal, one of FableVision’s animators. She is very professional. I love talking to her and asking her different kinds of questions about animation, and have learned a lot of useful skills from her. What’s more, she is such a nice person and working with her is so much fun.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
A director for animated short films.

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Where is your happy place?
Anywhere could be great as long as I am with my son. Watching him playing provides me with cool ideas for animation. He is also my perfect model to do sketches.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn

David Welsh

Intern specialization: Marketing
Hometown: Haverhill, Massachusetts
School and field of study: Middlesex Community College/Communications (with focus on film and television production)

What brings you here?  (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I heard about FableVision when I was researching game studios in Boston, and I saw they were having an art show open to the public (Creative Juices! The theme that year was “Glow-In-The-Dark”). I went, and while I was too shy to actually introduce myself to anyone at the time, it did inspire me to go back to school and figure out a way I could actually work here. Somehow, my crazy plan worked!

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
I take an early train in and I use that time to get caught up on my independent project. Then we have our morning meetings, and I learn what I’m working on that day. I’m usually bouncing between drafting social media posts, writing case studies, or working on other tasks the marketing team needs. I also like to keep an eye on Twitter and see what’s trending so I can suggest ideas for our social media.

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What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I’ve always loved video games and animation, and I feel so lucky to sit in the middle of the office and see all the developers, artists, animators, and producers making such cool stuff. And everyone has so much fun here!

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
I’d have to say one of the producers like Sam Bissonnette or Michael Fogarasi. My education, hobbies, and career path have molded me into a jack-of-all trades, and I want to be a producer because I love seeing projects through and understanding how games and films get made. I get inspired hearing the producers at FableVision talk about their latest projects because you can see the passion they have for their work and their project team.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
In five years, I am setting awesome stories loose in the world!

Where is your happy place?
Canobie Lake Park during Screeemfest. My wife and I go for our annual outing, so I’d have to say being surrounded by roller coasters, haunted houses, Ghostbusters, monsters, and Michael Jackson impersonators is my happy place!

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn
All of these must go…in my belly. This is my favorite time of year, and these are my favorite foods! (I will happily take all the extra candy corn off your hands.)

Anastasia Ricoy

Intern specialization: Art
Hometown: Somerville, MA
School and field of study: Lesley University/Illustration and Animation

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What brings you here?  (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I am friends with a few past interns and they told me how wonderful FableVision was and recommended it to me. I soon realized after researching the studio that I recognized some of the work they had done and I had to join!

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
After setting down my laptop and tablet, I grab a coffee or hot chocolate and get to work. Usually in the beginning of the week, I join the team meetings to hear new projects, goals, and accomplishments. Then I start to animate or illustrate work until lunch. That’s when I have time to catch up on everyone’s days or stories. Throughout the rest of the day while I work, I love to hear more jokes and stories that people bring up.

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I think what excites me the most about FableVision is that everyone has a passionate mind. Each desk is decorated with mementos that I can recognize from shows, games, and stories I know of. It brings me so much joy to talk to everyone about their work or favorite things.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
I’m probably Bob Flynn, Director of Art and Animation, or Hannah because they have jobs I’d love to pursue in the future. They’re also both talented in what they do. Plus, Bob has a cool Wacom Cintiq tablet, who wouldn’t want to draw on that?

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
In five years, I am successful in what I do.

Where is your happy place?
Walking in a park with a lot of sunshine, drawing next to a window with a warm drink, or listening to waves at the beach.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Cor
Candy Corn has to go. I would’ve said PSL because so many people get excited for it, but that’s a pretty good latte.


Check out Anastasia's incredible art: 





Beyond the Backyard

Beyond the Backyard is the collaborative project of FableVision’s Summer 2017 interns. The game follows a child who ventures into the wilderness in search of their Grandma’s beloved, escaped pet parrot.

The interactive adventure game lets players explore five beautiful environments filled with New England wildlife. Players solve puzzles to unlock each area and work towards reuniting Grandma with her missing pet. Learn about plants and animals by interacting with them to view your journal filled with educational information and fun facts.

When you’re a kid, the world feels limitless. Beyond the Backyard reflects our nostalgia and the sense of wonder we experienced as kids in our own backyards. There’s so much to explore—see everything there is to discover when you venture beyond what you know, into unchartered territory.

(Editorial note: the Unity web player may not work on older browsers, so please switch over to the latest version of Chrome if you're experiencing issues.)

Check out our behind-the-scenes post over on InternVision.

Learn more about FableVision's internship program (and apply!) here.



Behind the Scenes of "Beyond the Backyard"

Since coming together towards the end of May, the FableVision Summer 2017 interns have been hard at work on an exciting joint independent project. After meeting each other and discussing our shared interests in nature, wildlife, space whales, exploration, and adventure we knew we’d love working together.

After a few brainstorming sessions, we decided to create an interactive adventure game that captures the feeling of being a child exploring your backyard. You can read our Meet the Interns post from a couple months ago to learn more about our strong memories as kids exploring the outdoors.

Beyond the Backyard has five beautifully crafted scenes for players to explore. As the player goes through the game and ventures deeper into the digital backyard, they learn about the local fauna and flora of New England. To help along the way, players are equipped with a handy journal that displays adorable animations and illustrations as well as educational information about their surroundings and tips to progress the story.

Stay tuned for the exclusive game release coming next week! In the meantime, here’s a preview of our very own adventure embarking on game development at FableVision Studios.

The game officially releases next week! What are you most excited for people to experience?
Devon: Ideally, I want players to feel like they’re finding surprising secrets that have never been uncovered; to feel like they’re finding the little places in every wilderness that have a natural magic about them, like they’re peeking into another world.

Ellie: The biggest thing we wanted to convey when making this game was that sense of nostalgia you get when thinking back on your childhood, how everything was new and exciting, and that even your backyard has something new to explore and learn. For adults playing the game, I hope that nostalgia is apparent for them. For children, I hope it makes them feel as though they are actually out there in the wild exploring, especially for those living in the city.

Dan: I hope that all the scenery and the animals enthrall players and that it encourages them to explore every bit of content we’ve created. A hidden perk of the the development process has been learning a lot about New England wildlife, and I hope players will enjoy that discovery process as much as we did. Overall, it’s been an amazing experience working with two incredibly talented artists and I’m really excited for people to start exploring the beautiful world we’ve created together!

What’s your role on the project?
Devon: I get to wear many hats; contributing to the game design, animation, and writing, though my primary role is as the illustrator for the game. I created the backgrounds and still illustrations that can be found in each scene and in the journal entries. I am presently working on a series of illustrations that will be shown during the beginning and ending of the game as a sort of story introduction and epilogue.

Ellie: I get things moving! My primary job on the project is to make animations for the game. There are little animated critters in each scene and a click from the player prompts a journal to pop up displaying another animation with a little more personality. Aside from animations, I work with Devon and Dan to develop the written journal entries, and I help choose where/what species will make an appearance.

Dan: I’m the wrangler and developer for this project! My role is to take all of the beautiful art that Devon and Ellie make, assemble it in Unity, and then write code for all the various interactions and systems of the game. I’m also leading the marketing behind the project, and helping out with game design and writing.

How has this project allowed you to shine? What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Devon: The things that I’m most comfortable with are backgrounds and still illustrations. The biggest challenge I had to face was the harvestmen daddy long legs I had to animate for the lake scene. I discovered that keeping track of eight legs is not an easy task when animating. Although it was a small challenge, I think in the beginning, paring down the ideas we had for the game into a manageable and cohesive whole was an intellectual challenge in and of itself. We have a whole handful of ideas that will probably not make it into the final game.

Ellie: When I first started my internship, I didn’t really know what to expect from the experience as a whole, let alone what to expect from my fellow interns. What I didn’t expect was for us all to become this totally rad three-man studio dream team.

I really got a chance to improve on my time management skills. One day I’m animating some Bambi-esque deer doing their beautiful nature pose, the next, I’m animating a raccoon eating garbage. Through this process, I learned how long certain things are actually going to take me – and luckily, we gave ourselves a little wiggle room so I didn’t get too far behind schedule. Making sure everything works with Unity has also been a challenge, but those problems are always solved pretty quickly and flawlessly – and usually not by me. (Thanks, Dan!)

Dan: I think this project has allowed me to show off my ability to collaborate effectively with others and use my programming/writing skills to supplement and enhance the fantastic work of my teammates. I’ve always felt that I shine brightest when my job is to do whatever I can to support others and allow them to showcase their strengths while covering for any of the team’s weaknesses. The biggest challenge for me has been incorporating all the incredible art into the game while keeping the file size low, which isn’t something I had done much of before coming to the studio.

What would you consider a lasting takeaway from this experience?
You can do amazing things when you’re working with amazing people! The best part of this game comes from the combination of all three of our collective skills and interests. Ellie and Dan have been lovely to work with and all the support and advice from the team at FableVision has been very influential.

Ellie: We’ve all been completely invested in the project, worked really hard, and maybe most importantly, we all genuinely like each other. This experience has given me insight on what it means to be a team, and the incredible things you can achieve when you work with other people.

Dan: Working on this project has helped to reassure me that making games is definitely what I want to do and that it’s something I actually can do. Working as part of this team has been so much fun and I’m learning a ton about their creative processes and how I can best support them. The most important thing that I’ll take away from this is that collaborating can lead to results that are far beyond what any one person can do individually. I’ve really loved working with Devon and Ellie and I hope to persuade them to work with me again in the future! [Editor’s note: In fact, we love working together so much that Dan and Ellie already collaborated on a game jam featuring a space whale!]