Rutgers culinary club teaches students international cuisine
International flavors come together for students in the Rutgers Culinary Club.
The culinary club hosts events each month to teach students how to cook food from countries around the world, said Yashna Kothary, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and the event's coordinator.
The club's main goal is to allow students to enjoy the experience of cooking with others, Kothary said.
"Cooking with friends is always more fun than cooking alone, and the culinary club provides that experience without too much pressure on perfecting a dish. We hope students realize that cooking truly is for anyone,” Kothary said.
The real purpose of the club is to foster an environment that allows students to be themselves, said Jenny Law, a Rutgers Business School junior and president of the culinary club.
"We don't limit ourselves in terms of what ideas we can produce for the student population,” Kothary said.
No prior experience is needed to join the club, she said.
“We generally assume that students that come have low experience already. The chefs will start from the very basics. Like recently, we had a knife skills event and we learned how to properly use a knife and how to sharpen one and hold it,” Law said.
The club leaders tend to have ideas and plans laid out before meetings or events occur and participants show up, Law said. The executive board will come together and choose a general theme of what they will cook.
"This year we did Irish food for St. Patrick’s Day, for example. And for Halloween, we made pumpkin pies. You really explore yourself through cooking,” Law said.
The events that take place are hands-on and involve chefs who are willing to spare some time to teach students how to cook, said Brian Petersen, a chef manager at Busch Dining Hall.
On the day of the event, the club presents a packet of recipes and topics for discussion. Then, they break into groups and the chef guides the students as they prepare, Peterson said. Then the food is prepared and the club eats what they cooked.
The club wont have any more events for the rest of the semester. They are planning more events for next year, including a hotdog eating contest, Kothary said.
“And that should be fun because it will encourage more people to come. And also, it will allow us to have more than the usual amount of people,” Law said.
Collaborations with other organizations and clubs will allow the club to advertise, branch out and learn from those around them, Kothary said.
“We will have a table at Rutgers Day where we'll be serving snow cones with different flavors. Besides hosting events on campus we're also planning to coordinate events with local restaurants such as The Frog and the Peach for students who are interested in learning how to start and maintain a restaurant,” Kothary said.
If students want information about the club's events, they should contact them to get information, Law said.
There have been some issues when running the club, but the e-board has always found solutions to solve them in different ways, Kothary said. The club is looking for more venues to host events and working to host events on more campuses other than Busch.
“I think we'll be able to solve this problem by working with the staff at Rutgers. They've been very accommodating and we enjoy working with them,” Kothary said.
Each member of the club plays a vital role to the club’s overall success and survival, Kothary said.
“The most important lesson this club has taught me is how to use each member's strengths to make our events the best we possibly can," Kothary said. "Each member on the Executive Board has a special talent and we've learned how to mesh those talents so that our planning process runs smoothly."
Nicole Osztrogonacz is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in English. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. Find her on Twitter @nikki_osz for more.
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