Student organization spotlight: Culinary Club


Courtesy Hannah Bee

Last Friday afternoon, the Calvin Culinary Club introduced itself to campus with the sweet aroma of hot dogs on the grill. The club had advertised a four-dollar lunch basket — including one premium, all-beef hot dog with all the fixings, fresh-cut potato chips and a cold drink — all served on Commons lawn. White tents set against cloudy skies, long tables and a plethora of hot dog toppings awaited faculty, staff and students as Culinary Club members raised funds to support new opportunities for Calvin students to enjoy the art of cooking.

Walking up to the tents from North Hall, one student exclaimed, “This is dope!”

Many shared this sentiment and let themselves get creative when choosing their toppings. One student seemed particularly satisfied with the mountain of fixings he had arranged. Another held out his basket to volunteers and declared, “I’m a classic-dog kinda guy.”

With a smile, Meg McNamara, club president, greeted and invited students of all experience levels to join the fun. The heart of the new club is “to offer an open, inclusive and friendly environment for all students who are interested in learning more about culinary practices.” All club members will be able “to enjoy, prepare, share and eat food in community,” an opportunity which Calvin College had previously lacked.

Many students may recognize and feel a sense of familiarity with the concept of a culinary club. In former years, Calvin did have a student organization where students could learn from campus kitchen staff and host events together. However, after the majority of leadership graduated in 2015, the former iteration went on hiatus.

The Culinary Club currently partners with Chef Ian Ramirez and Chef Ryan Hartman, both on staff at Calvin, in order to provide professional insight into the culinary arts. In future months, the chefs plan to lead students in a private cooking safety class in the dining hall kitchens. At the fundraiser this past Friday, hot dogs and fixings were purchased from the dining hall using the club budget, showing a cooperative partnership between staff and the student body.

This year, the Culinary Club will offer monthly cooking sessions, private cooking classes in the Commons kitchen and off-campus site visits to explore the culinary arts. As McNamara explained, “The cool thing about Culinary Club, separating us from other clubs on campus, is that most of the meetings are led by the club members themselves. Rather than having scheduled monthly meetings, we will have one big event a month — both on and off campus. The rest of the meetings are hosted by students in their own dorm, apartment or house kitchens, where the host student will hold a mini cooking class for the rest of the club. This gives students a chance to showcase their own skills, and allows us all to learn from each other!”

Find the club on Instagram (@theculinaryclub) to keep updated on upcoming events. If the possibility of becoming a club member interests you, be sure to join its Facebook group for further details.