Office of the Chancellor

Conversation Kitchen 2018-19

Conversation Kitchen

Presented in collaboration with the Department of Campus Recreation, Conversation Kitchen is a unique series of culinary workshops designed to explore the significant influence that food has in defining and shaping culture across the world. Each free workshop will focus on an area of the world undergoing conflict and transformation today. What is the role of food in mediating conflict, communicating values, solving problems, reflecting locale, and expressing our common humanity? Chef Jessica VanRoo, Campus Recreation culinary education director, will present a three-course menu with dishes from the region. Hosts representing the countries in question will be present during the workshop to discuss their food traditions and experiences. Participants will gain an understanding of different cultures by sharing a meal among friends.

 2018-19 Schedule

Oct. 9, 2018: Simon Majumdar, celebrity chef and international food writer*

Fish and Chips: An International Story

Simon Majumdar is a broadcaster and author who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to “Go Everywhere. Eat Everything.” It is a journey that has taken him to all fifty states and to dozens of countries around the world. 

*A Virtuous Table / Confronting Extremism Event and Part of Unity Through Diversity: Celebrating International Connections Week

Oct. 16, 2018: Greek Table: Philosophy and Table Fellowship**

The ancient Greeks defined virtue very broadly, as the intellectual and moral skills that human beings need to flourish. The Greeks also developed the practice of the symposium, in which philosophers shared ideas over meals. The New Testament was written in Greek and developed its own distinctive practices of shared meals. Please join us for a “symposium” on virtue and table fellowship, featuring Prof. Duncan Pritchard (UCI Philosophy), Prof. Zina Giannopoulou (UCI Classics), and Prof. Tommy Givens (Fuller Theological Seminary).

Oct. 23, 2018:  Persian Table: Zoroastrian, Muslim, Jewish, Bhá'I**

Ancient Persia (modern Iran) has been home to many wisdom traditions and faith practices. Learn about Persian food and Persian hospitality at this engaging and informative meal with UCI faculty, including Touraj Daryaee (Director of the Jordan Center for Persian Studies), Ketu Katrak (Professor of Drama), and Sheiba Kian Kaufman (English PhD).

Nov. 6, 2018:  Buddhist Table**

Because Buddhism is a way of orienting one’s life, how to eat and what to eat is of great importance among its practitioners. Join us over the Buddhist Table to discuss the matters of meat, stimulants, and fine cuisines, as well as notions of reception, appreciation, and mindfulness in eating. Enjoy dinner and conversation with Prof. Elizabeth Tinsley (East Asian Languages and Literatures) and Rev. Hayashi Ryuzen of Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles. Moderated by Prof. Susan B. Klein, Director of Religious Studies.

**Virtuous Table / Confronting Extremism Events

Dec. 6, 2018: Blurring Borders—Cultural & Culinary Fusion in Undocumented Communities

Join Oscar Teran and special guests to explore the undocumented immigrant experience that is shaped by borders. Political borders, language borders, cultural borders, and even culinary borders all shape the experience of undocumented individuals who must construct lives that transverse the borders that would seek to limit them. Come and learn about the experience of living across cultures and the delicious fusion food that is born from crossing borders. Enjoy a Vietnamese-Mexican fusion menu as exemplified by the Dos Chinos restaurant in Anaheim.

Feb. 13, 2019:  “Mother Said She Didn’t Like Jjajangmyeon”: Ruminating on Korean Noodles During the Age of K-pop

Robert Ji-Song Ku explores the meaning of two of Korea’s most iconic noodle dishes, jjajangmyeon and ramyeon, during what he calls the “age of K-pop.” When and why did Koreans first start eating these dishes? How has their value shifted or evolved over time? More generally, some two decades after its beginning, what has been the gastronomic consequence of the Korean Wave, not only in Korea but also the Korean diaspora?

Robert Ku is chair of and an associate professor in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University of the State University of New York. He is the author of Dubious Gastronomy: Eating Asian in the USA and co-editor of Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader. His co-edited volume, Pop Empires: Transnational and Diasporic Flows of India and Korea, that juxtaposes the popular culture regimes of Korea, India, and the United States, is forthcoming in 2019. In 2016, he taught in the American Culture Program at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, as a Fulbright Scholar. Born in Korea, he grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in Binghamton, New York.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation: 6-7:30 p.m.

Register Here

March 21, 2019: Chancellor's Club Conversaton Kitchen (A Private Event)

May 9, 2019: Conversation Kitchen: Brazil with Latin American Studies 

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation: 6-7:30 p.m.

Register Here

May 21, 2019: Dinner with Aristotle / Tea with Buddha: Introducing the Intellectual Virtues

This evening of philosophy explores the intellectual virtues of honesty, humility, and tenacity, all essential to scientific and humanistic inquiry and to student academic success. The meal will feature food from ancient Greece, followed by matcha tea prepared by guests in the Buddhist fashion. Program presented by Professor Duncan Pritchard (Philosophy) and Professor Elizabeth Tinsley (East Asian Studies and Religious Studies).

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation: 6-7:30 p.m.

Register Here

June 4, 2019: Taco USA: A Conversation Kitchen with Gustavo Arellano 

Tacos have crossed cultures and sparked new conversations among chefs, taco lovers, and the communities where they live and work. We will taste and compare tacos and learn more about foodways, food writing, and food studies from taco historian, food writer and provocateur Gustavo Arellano.
Gustavo Arellano is author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. He is the former publisher and editor of Orange County's alternative weekly OC Weekly, and the author of the column ¡Ask a Mexican!, which is syndicated nationally. Arellano has won numerous awards for the column, including the 2006 and 2008 Best Non-Political Column in a large-circulation weekly from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the 2007 Presidents Award from the Los Angeles Press Club and an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and a 2008 Latino Spirit award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation: 6-7:30 p.m.

Register Here