Tasting Culture and Cuisine

9 Nov

One of the best things about being a Hotelie is being able to take courses like Seminar in Culture and Cuisine. This seminar, which is offered only in the Spring for 20 students, explores various cuisines in terms of history, lifestyle, and foods unique and special to a culture.

My classmates and I explored several international cuisines and learned how to make comparisons and draw relationships among foodways of different cultures through readings, research, and cooking in the culinary labs at Statler Hall. On Tuesdays, we discussed readings about a specific culture, and on Thursdays, we cooked and enjoyed the cuisine of that culture. Every Thursday was an absolute feast! We prepared at least ten dishes every week and spent the remaining time eating, experiencing new cultures, and talking about our love for food. What other college course let’s you cook and feast every week?! Amazing!

Throughout the semester, we each chose a country and did an extensive research project on its culture and cuisine. We wrote research reports, made oral presentations to the class, and designed and orchestrated the preparation of menus for our Thursday cooking lab. I chose South Korea for my research project and was amazed to learn so much about its history and the impact it has had on Korean food. Here are some pictures from my lab!

Making pa jon (scallion pancakes)

Making ho bak jun (fried squash)

Team South Korea!

Amazing Korean food - SUCCESS

Time to eat!

Within five months, our class had traveled nearly half the globe. We experienced the cultures and tasted the cuisines of more than 20 countries, ranging from Hawaii to Egypt to Greece to India. Here are some pictures from the semester!

On our last class, we had an Iron Chef competition: boys versus girls. Each team picked ingredients out of a hat and had one hour to plan, execute, and present eight award winning dishes! Professor Spies and the chefs at Statler judged each team’s dishes based on presentation, taste, and cooking methods used…and the guys won!

Girls' dishes

Our entire spread!

Time to feast

We also learned how to de-bone a chicken, which is a lot harder than you would expect. Professor Spies used one of the chickens to cook us a turducken (a chicken stuffed inside of a duck stuffed inside of a turkey and roasted). It was my first turducken…and it was amazing! Meaty, juicy, yummy delight!


Seminar in Culture and Cuisine was one of the most interesting, informational, challenging, interactive, and fun classes I have taken here at the Hotel School. I took this course because of my love of food and culture, and I hope that this has inspired you to try a new dish, learn about a new culture, and taste euphoria.


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