Section: Features

In the kitchen with the founders of the new culinary club

In the kitchen with the founders of the new culinary club

PUBLIC DOMAIN VECTORS

There are over 100 different clubs and organizations on campus for students to join, according to Kenyon’s website. Despite this large variety, Yasha Zehra ’26 and Mary Hitchcock ’26 noticed that a food-oriented club did not exist… yet.

During her first year on the Hill, Hitchcock initially made friends at Kenyon through baking. As she and Zehra recall, they met after Hitchcock knocked on Zehra’s door offering up freshly baked cookies. As they got to know each other, they learned that Hitchcock liked to bake and Zehra liked to cook. They shared their frustrations with the lack of access to kitchens and supplies across campus. Zehra also mentioned that as a Muslim, the necessary Halal foods were not fully available in Peirce Dining Hall. After venting these frustrations to each other, Hitchcock said, “We were like… ‘Damn. Kenyon doesn’t have a cooking club.’” Thus, the Culinary Club was born.

The process to begin the club started in February. Zehra and Hitchcock sent email after email to the Office of Student Engagement. Though frustrated in the beginning with the lack of responses, they both agreed to push for the club in the fall. Upon arriving on campus, Zehra and Hitchcock were able to meet with the Student Life Committee right away and get the ball rolling. On Sept. 24,  Student Council unanimously approved the formation of the Culinary Club. 

In addition to making food, Hitchcock hopes that the club can offer a variety of other activities, such as watching cooking shows and documentaries. “We want to make it educational,” Zehra said. “Learning about food and different cultures — it’s not always possible to make food from other cultures, but we can still learn.” 

Overall, Hitchcock and Zehra want to give people an outlet through which they can cook and learn, and hope that partnerships with organizations like Snowden Multicultural Center and the Center for Global Engagement could be an important part of the club. 

When asked what they hope people get out of this club, Zehra stated, “For me, cooking is therapeutic. I’m hoping that it’s something that people could use for that… I think it’s a really stress relieving thing, for some people, being able to complete your own thing, and have it, really creates a community.” Hitchcock said, “Cooking is my love language. Getting to share that is really important to me.” Zehra also expressed that “having conversations about food is just amazing. Everyone has experience with it. Everyone can talk about it and share about their culture… It’s crazy to think about people’s backgrounds.”

Zehra and Hitchcock hope to get the club up and running soon after October Break. A few technical things, like becoming food certified, have to be completed before the club can officially start. They are hoping to begin with an interest meeting on Friday. Meetings will tentatively be held in the Craft Center.

Hitchcock said that she hopes the club will be a welcoming place where people can come in excited about a certain food to share: “Whatever makes somebody [happy], they should be able to share it. They should also be excited to learn other things… for me personally, I want to try things I’ve never tried before.” 

For more information, reach out to zehra1@kenyon.edu or hitchcock2@kenyon.edu. 

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