Dining hall offers cooking classes

Lee Hughes, Senior Staff Writer

Discovery Kitchen seeks to teach students life skills about cooking for themselves.

The kitchen has been successful since it opened in fall 2017, however it is looking to expand its programming in the future, Executive Chef Sarah Langan said.

Located in Central Campus Dining Hall, Discovery Kitchen hosts weekly cooking classes that are geared towards teaching basic cooking skills to all students, Langan said.

Langan said college is about learning life skills in addition to getting an education.

“I’m giving classes to anyone that swipes into the dining hall and wants to come. It’s free and it’s fun,” said.

Langan would like to expand the program and is tentatively looking to begin this month, she said.

“In March, I’m doing a series of three classes for UVM students based around food insecurity,” Langan said. “It’s geared around students that have just moved off campus, and it’s going to be incentivised for them to come to.”

These proposed classes are for food systems students, but in the future Langan wants to offer them to a wider range of students, she said.

SGA Senator Bhumika Patel, a senior, said that food education, particularly around food insecurity, should begin with budgeting.

Patel is working with UVM to address food insecurity for students. She said that nutrition education is also important in that regard.

“When people are responsible for their nutrition for the first time — which is often when they come to college — people don’t always realize you need this many vegetables a day or this many fruits,” Patel said.

Langan said that she also hopes to teach food skills, such as resource efficiency. Her goal is for students learn how to use all of their food effectively and in multiple ways, she said.

UVM is one of the first universities in the U.S. to offer a program like this, Langan said. “It’s sort of cutting edge.”

Harris Millis Dining Hall and the Explorations Station in Central Campus Dining Hall offer similar programs, though they are more informal since no sign up is required and they are not structured like a class, she said.

The classes are based on three pillars: sustainability, health and culture, Langan said. “If I could teach under any one of those, the [administration] would be happy.”

First-year Luke Urbina said he attended multiple classes.

“I’d say that they taught me skills,” he said.

Sophomore Maggie Hirschberg said Discovery Kitchen helped her realize that she could make food herself, but said the program can improve.  

“I think they need to do a better a job of catering more toward vegans and vegetarians,” she said.

Patel said that in respect to education and food insecurity, it is important that Discovery Kitchen courses cater to diverse dietary needs.

Classes are 2:45-4:15 p.m. every Tuesday and 5:00-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday, according to the UVM Guide App.