The Africana, Latin-American, Asian American and Native American (ALANA) cultural center recently hosted the first “Global Kitchen” event. The night featured full emersion into various cultures through food. A series of student chefs gathered to cook traditional Taiwanese, Korean, Southern Chinese and Northern Chinese food. However, the aspect of the night that really made it an interactive experience for was the fact that students had an opportunity to sign up to cook alongside the chefs.
Sophomore Renee Xu was inspired to organize the Global Kitchen as a result of her own experiences. She explained that sometimes she would go to friend’s houses for Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks, instead of going home. During these visits, she would often cook for her friends’ families in which she stayed.
“They were always so fascinated about my culture,” Xu said.
For Xu, Global Kitchen is a way to bring this exchange of cultures to Colgate in a more interactive way for all students. One of the student chefs in attendance, first-year Chihoon In cooked Korean food. He agreed that the night was a good way for students to learn a little about other cultures.
“I really enjoyed everyone’s genuine interest to learn about other cultures” In said. “The food was really great.”
The food also had a unique sense of authenticity.
“Many tasters told me they had genuine cuisines, not Americanized ones for the first time, and they wanted to be our helpers in the future and learn more about cooking,” Xu said.
According to Xu, the event was a new way to meet people and participate in these new activities, while also fostering conversation among the approximately 70 students who came.
“It was just wonderful to see people who were interested in diverse cultures of different countries come to help chefs prepare delicious traditional cuisines,” Xu said. “There were also many people who showed up as tasters and had a great conversation with our chefs and helpers about other country’s food and culture beyond dishes.”
Xu plans on having more Global Kitchen events, and she hopes that it can continue every semester.
“We held the event successfully, got a lot of positive feedback and gained lots of experience,” Xu said. “Hopefully we will hold it again soon and engage more students and even faculty.”