Office of the Chancellor

Conversation Kitchen - Cooking with the Professor

Cooking with the Professor

“Cooking with the Professor” brings together UCI faculty and students for an evening of conversation, cooking, and good food in the ARC Test Kitchen. For each event, Chef Jessica Van Roo develops fun and easy recipes that reflect the research interests, cultural background, or cooking passions of a featured faculty member.

This program was first piloted by Professor Yong Chen (History), author of Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America. “Cooking with the Professor” is co-sponsored by the Campus Climate Council, Illuminations, and the Anteater Recreation Center.

2018-2019 Events

Oct. 11 - Cooking French Cuisine with Professor Daniel Brunstetter

My encounters with French cuisine encompass the various regional specialties and classic Parisian bistro recipes. But the dish I want to share with you bridges France’s complicated colonial history with its culinary traditions.  Couscous is a dish of Margreb origins, and for me, it is a hallmark of my first time living in France. There was a restaurant that served couscous next to my flat, and I became a Friday night regular to this restaurant owned by a French family of Tunisian descent. That was the beginning of an enriching journey that paired food with friendship and conversation about such issues as national identity, cuisine, religion, family, immigration and intercultural dialogue. Come join me in the kitchen preparing couscous to hear my stories, and perhaps share your own.

Nov. 15 - Cooking with Chancellor's Professor Jonathan Alexander

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Louisiana cuisine is justly famous for its mixing of different food traditions into a medley a gumbo! of vibrant, rich, and spicy flavors. French, Spanish, Native, Caribbean, and American foodways and flavors contribute to a taste profile truly unique in the US. Jonathan Alexander presents a beloved Louisiana dish, jambalaya, and talks about how growing up in the culinarily eclectic environment of south Louisiana shaped not only his tastes for food but his appreciation of the different ethnic traditions that contribute to our culture.

Dec. 4 - Cooking Dumplings with Professor Catherine Liu

I got into Yale because of my grandmother's dumplings. My college essay was a detailed recipe of jiaozi, made my grandmother's way. A native of Xian, my grandmother also hand made mantou, or steamed buns and scallion pancakes. My parents  and our family lost everything -- twice, when my grandparents went into exile from Mainland China to Taiwan and then when my parents moved from Taiwan to New York in the early 1960s, but I hold onto this recipe  as my most precious possession. My grandmother was functionally illiterate, so no record of this recipe exists.  I will talk about jiaozi making methodologies, the patriarchy, immigration, being Chinese-American, and not crazy rich. 

Jan. 23 -  Foods of Iran with Professor Roxanne Varzi 

Greeks, Arabs, Russians, Indians, Europeans have all traveled the historic silk road that Iran sits at the center of, making Persian cuisine the original “fusion food.”  Professor Roxanne Varzi shows us one of the classic dishes of the region, Khoresht Karafs, Persian celery stew.  Join us as Professor Varzi discusses and demonstrates how to make Khoresht Karafs and other classic dishes.  

6-7:30 p.m.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC)

Register Here

Feb. 12 - Foods of Japan with Professor Sei Young Lee

Join Sei Young Lee as she shares how to make some of her favorite Japanese dishes.  Soft udon noodles in a savory broth with crunchy tempura will be served while Sei demonstrates the art of simple Japanese home cooking.  Participants will then get to join Sei in a hands-on sushi handroll making the session.  Learn the techniques of making sushi at home and impress your friends the next time you cook for them!   

Sei Lee is a Korean born Arizonian who enjoys cooking simple Korean-Japanese inspired dishes for everyday eats in her spare time. She currently teaches First-Year Writing (FYW) courses for the Composition program. Her research interests include literacy development of multilingual students and how such students navigate academia. She is additionally interested in issues of equity for underrepresented faculty in higher education and student evaluations of teaching (SET)s. Before teaching college writing, she taught Korean language courses at the University of Arizona. 같이 요리해 볼까요?  

6-7:30 p.m.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC)

Register Here