What’s Cookin’ in the Kitchen?

By John Crawford

Madison Tarter ’14 likes to talk about food, which isn’t surprising, given that he’s president of the Culinary Arts Tower. Visit the new living-learning community located in Woodland Hill, and he’ll run down the menu he and his tower mates are making for dinner (basil and spinach pasta with Parmesan and garlic-encrusted chicken tenders). Pulling open drawers and cabinets in one of the tower’s two kitchens, he’ll point out the community’s stash of spices and sauces. “I bought a lifetime supply of Worcestershire,” he proclaims. And he’ll describe the many meals that tower members have cooked, the omelets and steaks, the pumpkin pies and panini, the turkey burgers and the jambalaya.

Ten students, mostly sophomores, make up the Culinary Arts Tower, which began in the fall. Missing home-cooked grub and growing tired of their diet of microwaved meals and late-night pizza, the students joined together to form a community of people who love food. Whether cooking in the kitchen or grilling out on Woodland’s wooded quad, tower members like to share eats with each other and offer input on how dishes can be made better.

“I like good food, and it’s a social thing to eat with people,” says Ben Simon ’14, the tower’s community manager. He and Tarter eat together or with tower mates every day. “It’s nice to have a good meal with friends,” Tarter says.

In the future, members plan to plant a garden, and they want to share their love of food with the campus community. Events they aim to organize include a BYOW (bring your own wings) potluck dinner; a grilled-cheese bar, a 24-hour eating fest where students make their own sandwiches with various meats, cheeses, and vegetables; and Calories for Cancer, a belly-busting fundraiser where participants donate money to eat a decadent meal.

Tower members also encourage any student needing a comfortable cooking space to come over and use their kitchens. Lack of time or cooking experience shouldn’t be an excuse. “People say, ‘I can’t cook,’” Tarter says. “Come here. It’s not hard.”