Office of the Chancellor

Conversation Kitchen

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.

joanie smithPhoto by Joanie Simon at Unsplash

2017-18 Schedule

Oct. 20, 2017: Foods of Syria and Turkey

A special Conversation Kitchen in honor of UCI’s membership in “Scholars at Risk,” an organization dedicated to housing scholars displaced by international conflict. Lunch served by Chef Jessica VanRoo.

Humanities Gateway Plaza and Humanities Gateway 1030

Lunch and Conversation: 12 p.m.

Followed by Middle Eastern music (12:45pm) and a talk by Kenyan novelist and UCI Distinguished Professor Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (1:30pm). 

Click here for event information

Nov. 2, 2017:  Ugandan Hip Hop

The complex flavors of Ugandan cuisine are influenced by the world.  Tribes throughout Uganda all have their unique flavors and cooking techniques.  Join us for lunch and explore the world's influence on the unique and flavorful cuisine of Uganda.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC)

Lunch and Conversation: 1-3:00 p.m.

Register here

Please join us later in the day for Shake the Dust, a film and discussion about hip hop in Uganda, 6:15-9:00 p.m., Crystal Cove Auditorium

Click here for event information

Nov. 21, 2017: Harvest Festival and the Real Thanksgiving

Do you know what was served at the original Thanksgiving dinner?  While a historian talks and the chef cooks, enjoy dinner with peers and learn what the Real Thanksgiving was all about.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC 

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

Register here

Dec. 6, 2017: A Tamale-Filled Holiday

A tamale is not just the quick meal you can find on your street corner or that frozen thing wrapped in a corn husk that you can microwave for dinner.  There’s a story behind a tamale, and the traditions and stories behind the tamale are showcased during the holiday season.  Delve into the flavors, history, and techniques on how to bring tamales to your holiday season this year.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

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

Registration Opens Wednesday, November 15

Jan. 17, 2018: Foods of Japan and Korea

Participants will delve into the world of rice, green tea, and fermented foods while observing the importance of presentation.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation:  6-7:30 p.m.

Register Here

Feb. 15, 2018: Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year has different significance to different cultures around the world.  We will delve into how the Asian cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year with food.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

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

Register Here

March 14, 2018: Foods of Pakistan and India

Two countries known for their robust flavors and liberal use of spice, all connected by the traditional naan bread and swee tea.

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation:  6-7:30 p.m.

May 9, 2018: Food and Faith

Ramadan and other religious celebrations honored through feast and fast.  Explore the influences religion has had on traditions of feasting and fasting practiced throughout the world.  We will explore Ramadan, Passover, and other religious holidays and the food and traditions associated with them.  

Sponsored by the Program in Religious Studies

Anteater Test Kitchen at the ARC

Dinner and Conversation:  6-7:30 p.m.