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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, May 20, 2024
The Echo

Chef’s Table is creating interactive spaces

Chrishauna Curry | Echo

We all gather to eat together, but what does it mean to gather at the Chef's table?

The Chef's Table is a Creative Dining event on campus where the staff interacts with students while also creating a learning atmosphere for them. This event enables students to learn more about nutrition and making different dishes. Nathaniel Malone, associate dining services director, wanted to be more interactive with the students at Taylor, and created the Chef's Table.

Chef's Table is a themed event that occurs twice a semester which consists of cooking demonstrations, cooking competitions, dish critiquing and a bit of sustainability education.

Rebekah Smith, Creative Dining marketing coordinator, said the event just recently began as of last year. She has hosted and promoted the four Chef's Tables Creative Dining has had so far. The first one being called "Talking Turkey" where students learned to make turkeys while engaging in conversation with one another.

The most recent Chef's Table event was held at the taylor garden next to the Randall building on September 11. Students participated by cooking dishes with ingredients naturally grown from the garden. Smith said that it was a great opportunity for students to get away from store bought ingredients.

The garden's Chef's Table consisted of planting lavenders, playing a game of "name that herb," learning about more fruits and vegetables, taking a tour of the garden, sitting around the fire and cooking meals. Chefs made corn capris salads as an appetizer with a main course of sweet potato topped with ginger and candy bacon along with a dessert of French beignets topped with a kettle sauce.

Chef Malone made these delicious dishes while holding a GoPro video camera and produced a cooking video which can be found on his YouTube channel. The Creative Dining staff also partnered with Phil Grabowski, professor of sustainable development. Grabowski gave a tour of the garden and helped students pick sunflower seeds while giving a talk about sustainability and food growth.

"A lot of students when they get out of college don't really know how to cook, or about nutrition, or anything healthy with food," Smith said.

With that being said, the Creative Dining staff saw Chef's Table as a good opportunity to educate students on nutrition, cooking and food production.

The Chef's Table is a unique experience for both the Creative Dining staff and the student body. Malone stated that he enjoys Chef's Table because it is a different experience from simply cooking food for students. He hopes the staff will be able to conduct two Chef's Table events per semester.

"The atmosphere was lovely and it exceeded all my expectations and the food was delicious," sophomore Claire Rush said.

Although previous Chef's Tables have been a success, Smith and Malone said they wish for more students to RSVP for the next upcoming Chef's Table. According to Malone, the next Chef's Table will most likely be held in November. Information about the next Chef's Table and how to RSVP will be placed in the student announcements.

"Take advantage of the opportunity," Rush said. "It's not just like eating the same food served outside, but they actually try to make it very special and make it a great experience."