Students Answer Why

Owen Brine ’20 The second that I saw the first slide I was hooked; I was sitting there with a small sense of hunger and a bigger sense of interest. My best friend from my home is a chef at a local restaurant and I have always wondered why he has such a raw passion for creating works of art out of food and this sense of wonder is what’s driving my need to be in your club. I want to take the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to also to take a unique skill set away from the Abbey before I graduate this year. I am really hoping that you consider me as a beneficial member of the club! I am Crossing My Fingers!

Rafael Borromeo ’20 I would like to apply for the Culinary Club for the simple reason that I LOVE food. In all ways possible. I love to cook, eat, and demonstrate how to make food. Having lived with my mother, and watched her cooking for years, I learned from her. The majority of the food I am capable of cooking is Asian, specifically speaking, Filipino food. This consists of traditional dishes such as chicken adobo, sinigang, kare kare, and more.

Along with loving to cook, I also love to eat. I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater, and I’m always willing to try new things, as long as it’s edible! And lastly, I love to demonstrate my ability to cook. I enjoy hosting dinners with friends, and showing them what I’ve learned from my mom. I even created a YouTube channel and uploaded a video showing “how to cook chicken adobo”.

Overall, I hope to be considered as a member of this club, as I have a passion for cooking at home, and I would like to continue to cook while away at school.

Jessica Shi ’20 I am extremely fond of food, always trying new cuisines. When I scheduled my weekend to New York and LA, I looked up many restaurants and made reservations. I went to the famous Eleven Madison Park and enjoyed the ten-course tasting menu. I love taking my time when I eat, tasting every flavor. I’ve been to two Michelin starred Japanese restaurants in New York and talked with the chefs about the food and how they created them. I enjoy these stories and find the delicacy of culinary fascinating. Apart from Asian cuisines which I am familiar with, I also enjoy Italian, Spanish and French dishes. Del Posto, which is one os my favorite restaurant, offers one of the best Italian cuisines. The delicate appetizer to the creamy pasta and the beautifully decorated desert all showed me the infinite possibility of food. I also enjoyed finding the differences in the same restaurants. For example, the food in Jean Georges NYC tasted creamier compared to Jean Georges in LA. Nobu in LA offered more options than Nobu in NYC. To me, a good experience of dining isn’t just the food but also the plating, the environment, and the music. I had some of the best memories with my family on a dinner table. Apart from fine dining, I also enjoyed street food. The freshly made cakes in the bakeries, the hot-dog stands, the fish and chips trucks all attract me. I enjoy visiting the food street and the night markets that offer a hundred kinds of foods. Whenever I am depressed, I indulge myself in food, eating sweets and cakes. Food also brings good memories. Fish and chips reminded me of my summer in Britain with my friends, wandering in the streets and laughing. Ice cream truck reminded me of my childhood when my grandfather used to buy them. Sushi reminded me of my trip to Japan with my sister when we went to almost all the famous food places. Culinary, to me, is more than food, but the story and memory behind it, which always bring me comfort and happiness. That’s why I want to join the culinary club: doing one of my favorite things—eating—while making new memories with my friends and new students.

Ellie Richard ’21 I would love nothing more than to be a part of this club. I heard about it freshman year and I’ve been waiting until my junior year so I could try and join. I love cooking and baking, this is a true passion of mine. I love everything that food can bring to a table, not only does it satisfy our tastebuds in the best way ever but you also get a part of culture along with it. If you make a traditional recipe from another country anywhere around the world, you are experiencing a part of their everyday culture and food habits. There is an unlimited thing that you can do when it comes to food, you can create something new from the old and play around with recipes to suit your style and tastebuds. I also think something amazing about the culinary world is that you have the freedom to express yourself to a certain extent within your food, it can be from the way you plate it to the smallest ajustments like changing a spice or adding extra seasoning. It is almost difficult to make two of the exact same thing and I think that is where the uniquness and excitement in cooking comes from. I truely hope you look at me as a valid option to joining this club, I can assure you I would take it very seriously and it would be an honor to be a part of this with yourself, Mr. Calisto, and everyone else that joins.

Matt Walter ’20 would like to be considered for a spot in the culinary club. I have always had an interest in cooking because my mom isn’t very good at it(sorry mom, I still love you). To her defense, we have lived on a boarding school campus our whole lives and have never really had a need to cook. So when the familiar smell of smoke crosses my nose while I run down the stairs to see what is happening, and I see my mom fly out the door with a burnt bag of popcorn in attempt to not set of the fire alarm of the dorm, I am not surprised. Of course my western background is going to slightly affect my pallet as I don’t like seafood in any form, I would much rather have a nice pulled pork sandwich, but if I get accepted I would do my very best to try new things. To sum it all up, I suck at cooking and have a desire to learn. All I have known my whole life is the dining hall food premade for me and it is time for a change.

Laila Fahmy ’21 am emailing you regarding my interest in joining the culinary club! I think I would definitely be a great addition to the group being that I have a pretty well rounded culinary background. My father has worked in hotels for 40 years and through this I have been able to see how large scale kitchens function. I have eaten all over the world and truly enjoy food. I have also gone to several cooking camps and attended many different cooking classes. Over the summer I worked in a bakery, and although I was not a baker, I did help the back of the house make cookies and brownies several times!

Steve Andonian ’21 When I was younger cooking was always apart of my childhood and it still is. I remember when I was in elementary school I would spend many nights in the kitchen with my dad while I was doing homework, and with every breath I took in I would smell the best of smells from his creations. I’d even help with some of the prep work. And ever since those days I’ve gotten more active in the kitchen. I’ve personally only have cooked things on a stove top or on a grill but I would love to try and make baked goods sometime. One of the main reasons I enjoy cooking so much is because of the possibilities for creativity, in my eyes a tomato sauce is an empty canvas for deliciousness. And if I’m able to join I would love to be able to experience different flavors from far off lands and learn some cool cooking techniques. Thank you for reading my words.

Lily Sones ’21 like to join the Culinary Arts Club! I really enjoy cooking and baking, and although the extent of my cooking experience ends at cookies, brownies and pasta, I think the club sounds really interesting. Cooking has always been something very peacefully for me to do with my family, especially during the Christmas season when we’d make as much cookies as possible before the big day from an old cook book from the sixties. Whether it is an heirloom or just something my mom picked up from a tag sale years ago, I don’t know but it has become a tradition in our house to have them for the season, stored in my great- grandma’s small green and gold cookie tin. Other than that my knowledge of culinary arts is very limited, specifically how other cultures prepare their food. Learning more about the process and seeing behind the scenes is fascinating to me. I’d love to have the chance to experience different cultures through their food this year in the Culinary Club!

Luke Kuyper ’20 I am writing to apply for the culinary arts club! My whole life I have been exposed to all sorts of cultural foods because I have had the opportunity to go to Australia, Italy, South Africa, Indonesia, South America and all over the U.S. My dad has always been a magnificent cook and has always encouraged eating and trying new foods. I am very interested in joining this club because I love to eat and try new and different foods, and I would love to share my thoughts and ideas with the group. I have also practiced cooking a variety of foods from star chefs such as; Gordon Ramsey, Daniel Clifford, and Jamie Oliver. To get an idea of my favorite types of food, here are my favorite restaurants; Nobu Sushi(Cape Town), Eataly(New York, Italian) and the Batali Restaurant (Italian). I would love to be apart of this club as it’s my last year here at the Abbey and I would love to experience as much as I can with my friends.

Melissa Oh ’20 As a lot of people can tell, my brother and I are two very different people. Just like us, our entire family does not quite have anything common except for one thing— the excessive love of food. Growing up, I have always watched cooking programs with my mother and made the food we saw together. I was a star at school because she never forgot to make me cute snacks to share with friends. My father is part of a huge gourmet society club in Seoul, which he somehow makes time to attend (he actually never missed once), and even wants me to join in the future. With the support of my family, I have a great understanding in the history of various cuisines and restaurants around the globe. I hope I can expand this knowledge by being part of the Culinary Arts Club.

Theodore Falvey ’20 When I was a child I did not venture far into the world of food. Let’s just stay I stuck to the five major food groups, those being: chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, toaster waffles, and french fries. This trend of pickiness continued throughout the entirety of my child hood life. My parents took me to multiple nutritionists over the years but it was always the same story. Day after day I would eat the same foods and refuse to consider the trying anything new. I didn’t eat my first slice of pizza until third grade, a hamburger or God forbid steak came around fifth grade. My pickiness continued throughout middle school and eighth grade graduation. That fall I would be heading off to Portsmouth Abbey, a place where I knew my options in the Stillman Dining Hall would be limited. At first I was timid in the dining halI, I would only eat bagels for most meals. After about a term of toasted plain bagels I knew that I must resort to another option, I had to try new foods. My explorations of food soon became pleasurable. After about a year I was completely immersed in the world of food, trying every restaurant and cultural cuisine that I could. Since then I have tried to develop my taste in order to distinguish the ways that different chefs combine different ingredients and tastes to make a dish. Although my love for eating is strong, my abilities to cook are not quite there yet. I did not grow up in a household that cooked often since my parents were usually very busy. Ever since I have learned to love food I have also developed a passion to cook. I spent lots of time this summer researching different cooking techniques, talking to co workers who are experienced, and even practicing my cooking skills. I greatly desire to learn from the best, learn about different cultural cuisine from both local areas and distant nations, and I want to have fun learning how to cook and eating great food. That is why I ask you to please consider my application for the Culinary Arts Club.

Julia Sisk ’21 I would like to become a member of the Portsmouth Abbey Culinary Arts Club. Ever since I was little I’ve had a true passion for learning and practicing the art of cooking, as well as watching every episode of Rachel Ray’s Kitchen. I am very familiar around a kitchen and even attended a cooking camp, where I had the opportunity to make 3 dishes each day while learning the background and culture of the meal. Attending cooking camp combined with watching The Food Network has inspired me to experiment with new recipes which have expanded my palette. This past Summer I had the opportunity of traveling to Rome where I had real Italian dishes and learned more about their culture and what a traditional meal included. When it comes to tasting the finished product I am not afraid of offering a constructive opinion regarding someone else’s dish. I believe it’s important for every student to try a bite of the dish because they might surprise themselves. I get excited when going to a new restaurant because I’m interested in the presentation of the dish. This plays a big role in preparing an appetizer, entree or dessert and students have the opportunity to get creative and artistic when placing the food on the plate. I hope to be apart of the Culinary Arts Club to continue my interest in other foods and love for the kitchen!

Kate Driscoll ’20 I’ve always had a passion for food. I was born a very large child (at 10 pounds). I think food is a way to express your love for someone or something. My dad is a very good cook and loves cooking for my family and my mom always says that it is my dad’s way of showing he loves us. Food brings people together, whether it be family or friends. It is something that has been and will continue to be a large part of society. I hope you will accept me into the Club so I am able to explore my love, excitement, and appreciation for food.

Mauricio Garcia Gojon ’20 When I was younger, I was very picky with my food. At my Mexican household I was the only who wouldn’t have anything that had avocado. When I got into the Abbey, I was a guest of many families with many culinary backgrounds. My manners had to override my childish aversion to new food. I began to try new things. Blessed be the day when I discovered Crab Cakes. Soon after, I became a real, passionate, lover of food. Everytime we went to Boston I would drag my friends to little trattorias in the North End. Everytime we were in DC I would bring them to the legendary Old Ebbitt Grill. Coincidentally, I started to travel the world more around this time. I was the only member of the All American delegation to a conference in Budapest to try every kind of goulash. When I went to Cuba, I rediscovered what simple foods like rice and beans or a sandwich could taste like when they were done with excellence. In the future, I am looking forward to a long career in diplomacy and international relations. I am hoping that the Culinary Arts Club will help me by teaching me more about food, the cultures behind it, and the proper way to enjoy it.

Crystal Chojnowski ’20 Of course, being your average teen, you’d think all I eat are processed snacks and cereal from the dining hall. Well, yes, I may eat these things, but I’m happy to say this isn’t all I eat. Where do I start? My cheese plate addiction? My love for oysters? You probably don’t want to be around me when I talk about these things, because I won’t stop talking. There’s so many little things that excite me about food, like the amounts of cheeses that there are in the world and what certain cheeses work well together on a platter. This is just a tiny glimpse at my passion for food. Being a part of the Culinary Arts club would strengthen my knowledge upon many different types of foods, resulting in me most likely nerding out about food more. Now, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but I’ll leave that up to my friends and family. In all honesty, this club would be a dream to be a part of. To enjoy the many different types of foods from all around the world and stay in New England simultaneously? That sounds exciting to me. Thank you for reading this and I hope you will consider me for the Abbey Culinary Arts Club!

Joy Wang ’21 I sincerely want to join the culinary club and have been looking forward to get a chance to apply for membership. Food and cooking has always been a great interest of mine, and has always been great and most enjoyed part of my leisure time, which I normally pursue it in summer. I am in love with all kinds of cuisine throughout the world, here are a few dishes I specifically enjoy and had tried to make, like macaroons, scones, Baozi, scallion pancake and even mooncake. I started cooking favorite dishes and desserts for myself two years ago, but have not met any professional chef nor advanced kitchens where all the splendid food appear magically… I would really like to be a member of the culinary arts club and take part in the adventures of food, and learn cooking tips but most importantly the culture and meaning along the way.

Cassiel Chen ’21 I really want to join the Culinary Arts Club. Ever since freshman year, Elaine and Peter have told me about how fun this club is and how much they learnt from it. Knowing this club only admits Juniors and Seniors, I have been eagerly waiting for the year to come, and finally, I’m a junior now!

I have a passion for both tasting good food and learning to cook savory dishes; however, I did not get much opportunities during school days to bake or cook. So I believe that culinary club will be an great opportunity for me to do the things I love.

Delia Filippone ’21 I would love to join the culinary arts club at Portsmouth Abbey. I have always been interested in food and how it is made, whether it’s pastries or savory food. It sounds very culturally enriching to try so many different cuisines from around the world. I have never had Portuguese food and I know Rhode Island is famous for it. Even the aspect of learning how to butcher meats sounds wonderful. I hope that we can do a lot of the same things from last year like making dumplings and cooking with Father Francis. Food has always been a passion of mine, but have stopped because there really is no place to cook here. When you said that we could visit Michelin starred restaurants I knew I wanted to apply.

Augusta Ambrose ’21 Food has always been an important part of my life. Growing up I baked with my sister, grilled with my dad and made Irish soda bread with my mom. The most important experience I’ve had with food is when I lived in Zagreb, Croatia when I was ten. Croatian food is very similar to Austrian food in some regions and Italian in others. Croatian delicacies include Kremsnita, a creamy custard made of beaten eggs whites, sandwiched between flaky puff pastry, under a snowy dusting of powdered sugar. Cevapcici, a salty little sausage, is delicious served with bread, still piping hot and warmly spicy. Finally, Fritule, fried dough, similar to a donut, and served around Christmas is amazing and fun to eat (you stab it with a toothpick and dip it in Nutella or cinnamon-sugar.) All these foods, once unknown to me, became staples of my diet. Foods, whose names I once stumbled over, now were favorites. I would love to be a part of the Culinary Arts club so I could have that same experience, the feeling of embracing new things and broadening, not only my palate but also my view of the world. The Culinary Arts club would be my compass to find new things and embrace them.

Elva Shang ’20 Three years ago, I had my first Abbey assembly as a freshman and the only thing I can remember now from that assembly was the slide shows from Culinary Arts Club. Being a part of the club in my senior year has been on my bucket list ever since then.

I am a big fan of food and everyone calls me a 吃货(foodie) in Chinese. For me, people do not eat to get rid of hunger, but to explore a culture, tradition, and the history behind every dish. And I believe that this culinary art club will allow me to further explore the food world following this belief. Apart from tasting food, I also love cooking because I believe that it is the best way to learn about a different culture. The selection of ingredients, cooking method, and other factors provide valuable information about each culture and I would like to write them down and share it with other people. Therefore, I sincerely wish that you can consider my application for the culinary art club and give me a chance to pursue my passion.

Emma Alexander ’20 I would love to be a member of the Culinary arts club! I am very passionate about all things food. My love of food comes from growing up around a wonderfully busy kitchen. Whether it was a enormous Christmas dinner or a regular weekday meal, we were always around to help out. I love to watch a variety of cooking shows and practice a recipe I found interesting. Whenever I go on trips, my favorite part is sampling the different food the world has to offer. Over the summer I was tasked with cooking dinner for my family a few times a week. I loved exploring different cuisines that ranged from Mexico to Thailand. I also love to make home made desserts such as cake and ice cream. However, I can only go so far into the culinary world by myself. That is why I would love to be apart of the club! I would be able to further explore my passion for food and do it with close friends.

Eloise Abbate ’20 I love food. For as long as I can remember, I have always been happiest when I was shoulder to shoulder with my grandmother in her kitchen. From a young age, she instilled a love of cooking and good food in me. As a little kid, I didn’t watch cartoons or Disney channel, but Food Network. I watched Emeril Lagasse, Ina Garden and Giada DeLaurentis for hours, absolutely captivated by what they were making on television. Last summer, I worked at a speciality wine and cheese store and absolutely loved learning about the different aspects of each cheese, and how they pair with particular accompaniments. I cook as much as I can at home, and I am interested in expanding my knowledge and technique of various cuisines as they are fairly limited at the moment. Nothing excites me more than going to a speciality market, a gourmet food store, or food festival. I also am interested in learning about new foods and cooking techniques and I am looking to improve on my description skills about food. I am passionate about all things food, and would be an active and passionate member of the Culinary Arts Club.

Maddie Knudson ’20 I love food. For as long as I can remember, food has been at the center of my household. My mother is an outstanding cook and her meals three times a day were the one guaranteed time my family had time carved out Food brings people together and the big moments, holidays and family traditions that have shaped who I am today have always been surrounded by food. Last year, my sister developed an eating disorder which was shocking for my family especially as we’ve always been encouraged to love and appreciate food in a healthy wayl. Talking about food and meals became an even bigger part of our family’s life and only deepened my appreciation for good food. Everyone should be able to enjoy a meal. This club would be an outstanding opportunity for me to understand food better and it would be an honor to become a member.

Jamie Shipman ’21 I have had a love of food instilled in me from my father, a man who works in the food and fine wine industry in New York City. As early as I can remember, my parents have had an accompanying glass of wine with every dinner, selected by him. He loves cooking food for our family, and particularly how to prepare certain cuts of meats. I would love to come home and teach him something for once, and I believe Culinary Arts Club would be a great way to achieve this goal! Thank you.

Michael Hyder ’21 I would very much like to participate in the Culinary Arts Club. Food has played a significant role in my life for as long as I can remember. Over time, I have grown to appreciate not only the taste, texture and smell of a wide range of foods, but, also, the technique in which these delectable masterpieces are created. Both my father and uncle have fostered my culinary interests by actively engaging me in a number of activities. For example, my uncle, a high-school Chemistry teacher with a passion for molecular gastronomy, has helped deepen my understanding of making a variety of cheeses. In addition, my father and I acquired an electric pellet smoker about a year ago and spend many weekends butchering and smoking various proteins. A culinary highlight for me was a visit to Parma Italy, where I observed master cheese makers craft Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and witnessed the century’s old methods of curing various meats. This trip inspired me to get out of my comfort zone with tasting new foods and really sparked my interest in wanting to create my own cuisine. While it may be a fact that I must eat to live, I can confidentially say that I do live to eat.

Emma Kerr ’20 I have had the opportunity in my life to be able to travel and try all different kinds of cuisines. From Spain to Trinidad to Ireland and England I have definitely added a couple of pounds. I am the kind of person who likes to stay in my comfort zone simply because once I try something and like it, I find enjoyment in that and sometimes just feel scared to try a new food. However, the trips I have been on have forced me to go out of my comfort level, because not everywhere else has pasta and butter every night for dinner. I have found things I love and some of my favorite foods I never thought I would try. On the flip side, there have also been foods that were not my favorite, to put it politely, but I still realize the importance in that. I simply now know I don’t like whatever it is but at least I tried it to come to that realization for myself. Anyway, I would love to be in the Culinary Arts Club so I can keep pushing myself to try new things!

Tori Travassos ’21 I would love to be a part of the Culinary Arts Club. I have always has a genuine interest in the Culinary Arts, but have little exposure. Throughout my adolescence I have been very limited in what I would allow myself to eat, having the typical teenage palate for chicken tenders, pizza and hot dogs. Over the summer, my world was knocked upside down when I visited Rome with the Humanities Program. I was given vision to a world of possibilities that my taste buds never knew existed. I learned that to explore foods is to explore the world. I believe that being a part of the Culinary Arts Club would very much be an enriching experience for me because I would love to further get to know different cultures through their food and in the process become a better cook. I would be eager and open to new foods because I have learned that discovering a love for new tastes is an opportunity to expand my appreciation of what other cultures have to offer gastronomically. Furthermore, I can then have the pleasure of extending my knowledge and sharing these new foods with others.

Teresa Billings ’20 To say I love food would be an understatement. 99% of the time that I have a smile on my face is due to the fact that I just ate and I have a full belly. (Sad, I know, but it is true!) Unfortunately, I find myself almost always on the eating side of food and never the making side of it. I don’t have that much knowledge when it comes to cooking. My recipe book consists of scrambled eggs and fried rice. I’ve pretty much mastered those but it’s about time that I have more recipes under my belt. I would like to expand my knowledge about cooking and learn as many new skills in the kitchen as I can. I also want to learn about the

many different cultures involved with cooking so that I can make dishes from all over the globe. Growing up I was surrounded by Korean food (especially when traveling in Korea, as well as exploring Korean restaurants here in the US) and, at home, I helped my mom make a few Korean dishes but that was it. I’ve seen how food has the power to bring people together within and across cultures and I want to be able to experience that from the cooking-creative point of view. I know (from personal experience!) that food is capable of bringing so much joy, and I would appreciate having the skills to deliver that to someone else’s plate.

Bon appétit!

Michelle Victorine ’21I would love to be a member of the culinary arts club because food has always been a huge part of my life. Growing up and being able to experience such unique foods prepared by my grandmother and aunts was so special to me because I became accustomed to tastes and recipes that others may not have been fortunate enough to experience. My favorite part about going back to Taiwan to visit family has always been the food, and it’s always the thing I miss most when I leave. Not only that, but I am always eager to try new dishes and traditional meals when I travel, specifically those that I’ve had in South Korea and Japan. Being apart of this club would allow me to do this without traveling far, and I think this is an amazing opportunity to further my interest in and appreciation of the culinary arts.

Daniel Twomey ’21I desire to be a member because I have always thought that food was the epicenter of the world. By this I mean entire cultures have been brought up just based on food. In my house, food is not just a thing you consume for energy, but instead an experience to be made, one in which my whole family joins in on, one which allows us to talk to each other and have a good. I want to learn more about the world through the culinary arts, as that’s one of the best ways to understand cultures everywhere. I want to experience food from cultures all over the world so I can see how the hundreds of years had formed some of the best culinary delights in the world. I also love food in of itself, i love the preparation, the dedication it requires. I also wanted to learn the recipes to these amazing delights in the hope that I may one day, bring the same joy to my family and friends. I would love to join the Culinary Arts Club, so that I may explore the delicious, sweet, salty, sharp and aromatic world of food.

Peter Liu ‘19

Studying in an American private boarding school, I get asked about Chinese culture often. Out of China’s 5000-years’ political and military struggle, two Chinese people seem to stand out from the rest in terms of international recognition: Chairman Mao and General Tso. “Is Panda Express authentic Chinese food?” “Not really.” “Then P. F. Chang must be?” “Leave me alone.” These questions are hilariously annoying, but they reflect an intriguing phenomenon. At any place in any country, food is a common language. Caesar is translated into hundreds of languages all around the globe, but anywhere, “Caesar” salad only has one recipe. This integration of distinct customs crosses geographical and linguistic barriers, and I refer to it as the foodie culture.

To make the most out of my high school experience, I joined the Culinary Arts Club. On our monthly trips, my foodie friends and I learned about cuisine from food production to standards of appreciation.

We experienced ancient Greece through gyro and pita, Jewish culture via lox bagels, and Rhode Island domestic life at Chefs Collaborative, a local food festival. No matter where we go, every member assumed the highest interest even if the food was not related to his own country. Just like everyone else, I am simply an enthusiast that craves savor. In our club, people from all places share the same enjoyment. This joint experience unites us by eliminating our cultural differences.

The foodie culture extends far beyond a club setting. Whenever we order pizza late at night or grill barbecue on Sunday, we take share in this inclusive culture. Foodie culture denies no one the right to participate on account of gender, race or belief. It is a utopia with equal opportunities for everyone.

Sylvie Qiu ‘19

I wished I had not missed the deadline of application to Culinary Art Club last year, because I am really intrigued to try all kinds of dishes, whether new or foreign. I followed a lot of social media pages recommending delicious meals or desserts. My friends got tired of me trying trendy restaurants and asked me to stick with “regular” food. But my passion for food never reduces, and I always recommend restaurants to others with different comments. During the summer, I just learned how to cook from a tutorial, and I was so surprised that I did not set the kitchen on fire. In fact, the braised pork I cooked got compliments from my parents who did not believe I was able to cook at all. Besides eating food, I am also interested in making food as well as writing feedback about my experience. 

I really look forward to joining culinary art club!

Sarah Costa ‘19

Food has been very interesting to me since a very young age, whether it was watching chefs create amazing meals on TV or trying to make my own recipes. I especially love making maple apple pies, which have now became a favorite of my family. When making food or eating food, you get to momentarily forget about all the stressful parts of life and focus on either preparing the dish or tasting all a dish has to offer. My family has always loved food, so much so that a lot of the activities my mother and I do are food-centric. Every Wednesday of the summer, we are intensely watching “Masterchef,” curious to see what crazy, but amazing, invention someone creates next. Whenever we go on trips, the first thing we think of is restaurants we want to visit while we are there, and we often run out of time to visit all of them. Food also helps to reconnect my family when we are separated. My sister lives in Colorado and my mother sometimes sends her the candied sweet potatoes that she always makes for Thanksgiving. I think the reason that food is so appealing to me is that it is not only an art, but it is an art that you can both see and taste. Another thing that makes food so interesting, is that cooking and baking are very precise and take lots of calculations, which my brain has always been drawn to. I haven’t been able to try more adventurous kinds of dishes so I would like to join Culinary Arts Club because I would like to be able to see first-hand and try a variety of beautiful dishes!

Justine DelMastro ‘19      

Coming from an Italian family, the passion for food is innately in my blood. Every family gathering, no matter what occasion, is centered around the meal. Appetizers are always in abundance because we practically eat a dinner-size serving of buffalo chicken dip and guacamole before the remaining two courses even make an appearance. The main entrée is thoroughly enjoyed even though our pants are literally cutting off our circulation. Grandma is never satisfied until every crumb has been eaten. Then yes, we insist on continuing to stuff ourselves full of delicious desserts. I usually go lighter on the dinner portion in order to save room and try every dessert on the table. I am more than willing to try new things, even if I think I won’t like them. Culinary Arts Club would be the perfect way to try new foods and introduce them into my family.

Evelyn Long ‘19

“First we eat, then we do everything else.” MFK Fisher.

I want to join the club because I believe cooking is a practice of art whose product, food, serves a practical purpose. Just like my attitude towards visual art, although I’m very bad at drawing and painting, I am willing to learn, and more importantly to appreciate, art works by others. Although I cannot cook, I would love to learn and eat. 

I’m not an expert on food (yet), but one thing I do know as an international student is how different and complex is the food culture around the world. Often times, food is the topic that connects us. I would love to explore more exotic food cultures. 

Jonathan Susilo ‘19

Food has been a part of my life ever since I was a child. From burning Betty Crocker brownies to learning how to make my favorite dish from my grandmother, food has connected me to the world around me whether that be the cuisine of the country I’m in or trying recipes passed down from generation to generation. I used to see food solely for its purpose in sustenance and survival. This all changed one Chinese New Year when an 11-year-old me suddenly became feverish and sick. Though I still got to see my family and go through with all the typical festivities, the amazing dishes laid out across the table suddenly all tasted bland. Nothing felt as it should and I entered a state of confusion in which I knew I should be enjoying the rare and amazing dishes yet, my tongue barely tasted anything. That experience led me to truly appreciate food wherever and whenever I can. 

I am fortunate enough to be able to travel to various countries and experience their cuisine. To me, this is one of the biggest aspects of traveling as in understanding a culture’s food is a beautiful experience to share with the world. This is why I would be grateful to be given the chance to explore the various unique and distinct restaurants and food festivals in the Rhode Island region, seeing as though my time here may be coming to an end shortly. My two years here at the Abbey has already been filled with great memories, however, I wish to truly enhance my experience here by joining the culinary arts club as it will commemorate my time here in the best way possible: through good food.

Additionally, attached to this email is a project I completed as part of a Food Technology course in my previous school. This work was completed in my freshman year (or Form III). Though my writing skills have improved since then, this portfolio is a good reference to my previous experience with food development, research and creating.

David Sun ‘19

Food always inspires me by reminding me the beauty and splendor of our existence. It is not merely a means to satisfy my physical need, but a medium for me to experience my existence. When I was a kid, my favorite weekend activity was going to different restaurants with my dad every week. Grown up in a big city, I had a lot of options to choose every week, ranging from the freshly made dim sum to delicate French cuisine. The memories of those moments never faded. Yet sadly, I do not have many options at Abbey, confining myself to daily struggles at Stillman. This year, as a senior, I want to enjoy my life a little bit more, while resuming my search for the meaning of my existence. The Culinary Art Club gives me such an opportunity. Perhaps this year, as an aspiring member of the Culinary Art Club, I can rediscover the childhood excitement and enjoyment I experienced with my dad every weekend.  

David Sozanski ‘19

All animal life requires food of some sort for both sustenance and growth. Even as a biological necessity, food takes on an enormously influential role in human culture and society compared with other equally important needs. For example, people seldom even notice the water that they drink unless it poisons them, yet a minor change in the dining hall’s menu sends visible ripples of delight or despair through the Abbey community. Far from simple nutrient intake, the Culinary Arts allow for human expression through flavor, smell, and presentation. Perhaps more so than any other art form, cooking can simultaneously satisfy the most primal and refined desires. As the subject of experimentation, paintings, literature, and daydreams throughout history, I have come to believe that someone who enjoys partaking in the Culinary Arts as much as I do should learn a little more about the subject, and so I would love to be a part of the club’s membership this year.

Tatum Bach-Sorensen ‘19

I am writing you to confirm my interest in joining the Culinary Club. I am aware that you have visited with my dad in the past, and seeing the joy he found in teaching to students at the Abbey, I would love to also be a part of such a wonderful experience. I grew up in the restaurant business and believe that food will always have a piece of my heart. I feel that being a part of the Culinary Arts Club would open my eyes to even more as far as the restaurant community. I love trying new things and meeting new people, and hopefully this will be an opportunity to do so! 

Meghan Behnke ‘19

Cooking has always been an integral part of my life. My mother loves to cook, my dad loves to eat, and my siblings fall somewhere between the two. If my family hosts guests, while my siblings and dad are mingling, I’m always in the kitchen with my mom. I love to learn from her, and particularly for one reason: due to a number of allergies, rather than tasting what she cooks, she adjusts her recipe primarily through scent. I have a slightly restricted diet as well, which has only encouraged my interest in recipes, food, and cooking. I love to explore what can be done with extra ingredients, or without specific ones. 

Additionally, I want to study nutrition. I believe our interactions with food are fascinating. What can proper fuel do for you? What can we do, as chefs, artists, and explorers, to create something amazing out of this fuel? To be clear, I don’t expect the club to revolve around the nutritional value of what we explore. This does not diminish my interest, however! I don’t believe eating well should be burdensome. I believe that it can be exciting and engaging, and for me, learning to engage with food in a new way, or how to prepare anything at all is a step in the right direction. 

And of course, I need to be able to top my mom some day! 

Mia Wright ‘19

I’d like to be a part of this club because not only do I love eating, but I also love the familiarity of both cooking and trying new foods. On family vacations, my father and I always try to outdo each other for eating the most daring dish on the trip. I remember a few years back in Ecuador, we even tried guinea pig, a mixture between chicken and pork, slightly barbecue-y– slightly heartless of us I know, believe me the guinea pig weighed on my conscience for months after. In Peru, we both ate alpaca, but this was mostly because we were really craving meat and they really didn’t have any cow beef to our chagrin. I believe myself as an aspiring connoisseur for food, which I believe this club will help me with. From my mom I have learned how to make a few dishes, but boarding school has led me to a lack of any true variety in my limited culinary skills. In this club I’d like to change that. I’d like to develop both better cooking skills as well as a higher developed palate. I extremely hope that you allow me to be part of this club. 

Inés Minondo ‘19

In my family, we all enjoy cooking; my Dad cooks for us almost every Wednesday, and my Mom even owns a restaurant. As for me, I can honestly say it is by far one of my favorite pastimes. My small composition hides my love for food; every time that I am angry, sad, stressed, annoyed my solution will always be to eat. It would be such a great and fun experience if I could form part of the Culinary Arts Club for my love of food.

Abby Gibbons ‘19

I would very much like to be a part of the Culinary Arts Club this year! My household has always been one of foodies. I’ve been raised eating lots of classic Italian cuisine and indulging in all sorts of desserts. As a child, I did tend to stick more to the basics of pasta and pizza, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate more foods and the intricacies in the methods that go into making them. Of course I’ll always have a soft spot for a greasy slice of pizza, but as I’ve been more and more adventurous in my dish tasting, I’ve gained a deeper respect into the world of food. It used to just be something I ate if I was bored or in the mood to pig out. Now I consider (good) food as a combination of ingredients and flavors masterfully put together to create one cohesive experience. For me, food brings comfort and excitement, whether it be a dinner of chicken fingers and Ben & Jerry’s or a trip to Smith and Wollensky for some of the best steak a person can consume.  

Dan Teravainen ‘19

Make money, cook food, and smoke cigarettes; my co-workers seem to have life figured out. Well… not so much. The restaurant business is relentless to say the least, and those who enter tend to stay, earning promotions whilst learning an artform only years of hard work can perfect. No, I do not plan on staying for the rest of my existence, but I sure as hell have both loved and hated my 3 years at the Pilot House Restaurant. Working alongside 48-year-veteran chef Scotty, who has hopped between restaurants across the country for his entire career, definitely isn’t the worst possible thing for my taste in fine cuisine. Chef Scotty and kitchen manager Rob have taken me under their care and showed me what it means to be a cook at a restaurant which serves at peak 900 tables in a single night. I have developed a love of simply observing their ways around creating exquisite dishes. Cooking can be quite dreadful when falling behind on orders, or when a dish doesn’t quite taste the way it’s supposed to, but the life of a cook can also be rewarding. Understanding good food, meeting new people, and making money makes my time in the kitchen worth while. Joining the Culinary Club here at the Abbey would allow me to share my past experiences with food and also build upon those experiences.  

Kaitlyn Farah ‘19

My family is one that places great value on, and appreciates, good food. Every night my Dad, my Mum and I would cook a big dinner for our family of eight. Despite this large number of mouths to feed, it is highly rare that we would take the easy route and order pizza or make something generic such as mac and cheese. Every time we make a meal (dinner during the week, breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekends) we change the recipe ever so slightly to experiment with different flavors. 

My island, Trinidad, consists of an incredibly diverse range of people from all around the world, their cultures, spices and food included. Because of this I am a very adventurous eater and will try and thoroughly enjoy anything. From Indian food to Chinese food (not the fast food one typically gets but real food) to our local dishes and almost every other type of food you can imagine, we have it and love it. I also have an affinity for baking, something I believe I received from my great grandmother who baked cakes for all of Trinidad. My Dad and I have been working on an amazing apple pie recipe from scratch, and recently I have taken over and people tell me mine is better than his was. 

My point is, that the Culinary Arts is extremely interesting and important to me. I would have tried to join last year had I known the club existed. Being an International student at the Abbey can be hard sometimes for I’m used to a much larger variety of flavor and spices than the Abbey offers (not that it doesn’t have a good selection, it is just slightly more limited). I would really love, and I know it will absolutely make my last year at the Abbey that much happier, to be able to cook and eat in the Culinary Arts Club. Best wishes,


Scarlet Shin ’18Food has been the basic road for my life. I have always followed its road, its pathway to lead out my life. My family always forms a conversation starting with decisions on menu. Then we can easily flow to other topics including ingredients that are used in each dish, then following with “how was your day?” This might be the main reason that my family is always getting together and supporting each other. Because in my family and in my life food was a huge part, I cannot explain about me without saying something about food.

My grandparents and even my friends always tell me when they see me eating, and it invokes their appetite. With a satisfied face and big smile after I have a bite from a good dish, that always makes people to come over and yearn for one bite of that dish. I truly enjoy the act of eating. Not only eating, but also cooking is the main part of food that I always consider. I believe that knowing where this food comes from is the basic start to understanding and fully enjoying the dish. Appreciating the efforts that are put in one single dish, I would sincerely enjoy the food. I would love to catch this opportunity at the Abbey to show my enjoyment and passion of eating through this dreamy club, Culinary Arts Club.


Ella Souvannavong ’18 – I would really like to join the Culinary Arts Club this year. I’ve been interested in cooking and baking since I was really young. In my family, I’m depended upon for making good desserts. Partly because Lillie has made chocolate cookies that ended up only tasting like salt, but also because I really love to make and eat new things. I really appreciate the culinary arts because I’ve had a lot of experience in making mistakes while making food. But however hard it gets, even if I’ve been standing at the oven so long my feet hurt and the food doesn’t even end up edible, I still want to do it. I think this feeling connects me to a lot of chefs and food workers. 

I also appreciate the culture of culinary arts. My stepdad is Chinese and my dad is Laotian, so I’ve had a lot of these cuisines, even if it had to be forced on me by relatives who insisted we finish everything. While this sometimes ended up in discretely spitting out tentacles, it also showed me how diverse and interesting food can be. 

I would really love the opportunity to continue to explore food culture and be inspired to make new things! 

Spencer Kelleher ’18 – I would love to join the Culinary Arts Club for my senior year! I am fully committed and willing to meet this commitment, whether it be carpooling on Sundays to convenience other day students or coming in early. My expertise in food derives from my 17 years of extensive love for calories. Growing up around my grandmother from Seoul, Korea, I have fostered an admiration for food and its cultural influence. Sitting around the table with my cousins from Korea, despite our language differences, we could fully enjoy each other’s company with the help of Kimchi and dumplings. Truly, I feel that eating foods from different origins allows you an insight into a culture that is simply unique. Also, an interest of mine is learning how to cook. As I will be going to college soon, I won’t be able to have my mother’s home cooked meals anymore, and I will have to learn how to depend on myself for food, and I think that the Culinary Arts Club would be a great way for me to learn. Overall, I am super excited for this opportunity and hope that I can experience different foods and cultures with my peers.

Peter Liu ‘19Two years ago, I applied for the Culinary Arts Club as a freshman and attended one of the meetings. And that gave me authentic insight as to what this club is and whether I would like it or not. While I am also in several other school clubs, culinary club most definitely surprises me with its expertise. It had offered us a top-notch gourmet experience, which usually only professionals could have. The sufficient funding of the club enables the club to conduct multiple events every term, which shall free the students from their busy academic life.

As I deeply enjoy the act of eating, I am certain that its appreciation will be something I value also. Besides, I am from outside the US; as a result, I assume that I can render a unique palate to the club.

Katherine Wang ’18 – I am thrilled and prepared to join the Culinary Arts Club. Growing up in three different places around the world–Beijing, Hong Kong, and California–I had the rich experience of different kinds of food since a little kid. My favorite among all food is desserts.

During the summer, I had opportunity to work at a dessert shop at Manhattan, seeing the cake decorators at the shop carefully embellish the cakes; drawing flowers on the surface of the cake made me realize that the food can also be pleasing to the eyes besides pleasing to our stomachs. On my last day of work, I was able to serve food with our shop for a music festival; getting positive feedback from the guests about our food was impressively satisfying. My experience working at the shop was definitely the highlight of my summer vacation. Of all the events the club attended, The Empty Bowls event especially interests me. I was granted the Haney Fellowship and went to Cambodia during July; upon my arrival, one of our local guides told me that they are having a project where all the volunteers donate bowls they get from the local old markets and all the kids in the school will use them for meals. I thought it similar to the fundraising at Empty Bowls and thought food can genuinely pass on love to people.

Every year, I have my friends from the Culinary Arts Club telling me about the exciting experiences they had at the Newport’s historical food tour, and learning skills about cooking, and great food at Tom’s BaoBao and the cheese tasting event. I have wished to be part of the Culinary Art Club since freshman year, and I think my experience about cooking and my passion towards food will fit well with this wonderful group.


Megan Madden ’18 – Though I never thought I would say it, I would like to join the Culinary Arts Club this year.

As you may or may not remember from the fried rice story I read at the end of last year, I have always been a very picky eater. I told of my first time eating fried rice, forced to by my mother on my 13th birthday. This past summer, I was blessed to spend a week in the south of France with some family friends. Throughout the trip I had shunned the “exotic” cheeses and strange looking pastries, sticking to the familiar baguettes and butter (which was amazing in itself). On the last day, we ate at a restaurant on the beach, which had also exclusively served exotic seafood (mostly shellfish) dishes. I was deeply upset because my love of seafood extended to fish and chips or the occasional swordfish. Yet, I was a guest and resigned myself to ordering some tellin clams in broth. The other people at the table ordered ginger mussels, oysters, ceviche, and whole octopus tentacles.  After one bite, I was in love with the salty little clams and immediately tried and loved everyone else’s food. Finding that it was all delicious (I stole at least two bites of each dish), I decided to officially become adventurous. Through August, my options were limited as I remained entirely in my house unpacking boxes, though I had one sushi adventure at Turks in Mattapoisett, MA. (If you haven’t been you should definitely try it.) Now as I have returned to the Abbey (broke), throwing cereal or dressing on my salad is all the adventure I can find. Until I remembered that the Culinary Arts Club was built for such wonderful pursuits as this.

India Roemlein ‘19 – I would really like to be a part of the Culinary Arts Club because of my love for baking and cooking. I have always loved baking pastries and cakes for family and friends for events or just whenever because it’s fun, and everyone enjoys it. Joining the club will offer a creative outlet I have not had before, and will help me gain a learning experience (such as when you put too much baking soda into a cake). Though cooking is only what I have ‘dabbled in,’ it is a very enjoyable experience. I love experimenting with cooking and baking, and it is especially a stress reliever on Sunday after a hard week at school. Becoming a good chef is something that I want to be, and I am thinking about studying culinary arts in college (a possibility). Being in the Culinary Arts Club would be a dream to me, so thank you!

Elaine Jiang ’18I would love to join the Culinary Arts Club this year! I am super enthusiastic about food– both learning how to cook and tasting amazing dishes all around the world. Having applied in my freshman year, I was totally not prepared at that time because I did not even know how to hold a pan properly. In sophomore year I was forced to learn how to make a fried egg on my own since nobody was at home to feed me. Since then, I started to love cooking. I would always go online to search for recipes, especially for dessert– I really do have sweet tooth. Also, as a Chinese student, I love the famous 8 Cuisines in China. Among them, my favorite is Beijing dishes. Therefore, I learned how to make Jia Jiang Mian– a kind of noodle with fried sauce– with my grandparents in China and prepared the dish for the whole school last year during International Food Night. Although it was not as pleasant looking as the Jia Jiang Mian that my grandparents made, I just wanted to share my love of my home cuisine with everybody at the school. Also, as a fan of all sorts of adventures, I would always love to go to different places for different kind of food. For example, this summer I stayed in Italy for two months and made my bucket list of eating all flavors of gelato and all sorts of pasta. Though I realized that it was impossible unless I gorged myself, I still had a lot of amazing Italian dishes. My favorite pasta is the classic carbonara, and I am not a fan of pici. Later in the summer, I went to Nepal and stayed in a nunnery for two weeks. I almost became a vegetarian after two weeks of no meat in the Buddhist nunnery. What was different from the experience I had before in a Chinese temple was the Nepali specialty food. They ate everything on a silver plate with their hands– which I thought was extremely unsanitary but still gave it a try. I loved the curry sauce with rice and cauliflower. Because the nunnery is in a mountain, they had chili sauce– different kinds of chili sauce– everyday, so that people can keep warm after they ate the spicy sauces. 

I love to go to different places and eat different kinds of food. Last year, my friends in Culinary Art club told me about their experience of going to Jamestown Fish, Bao Bao(my favorite), Johnson&Wales University, and Portugalia Marketplace, and I really want to get myself involved. Because I believe I have some experience with food and am enthusiastic to learn more about food, I would really love to be part of the Culinary Arts Club.

Dan Sliney ’18I am very interested in joining the Culinary Arts Club because of my growing love for food. This summer, I watched many cooking videos and suddenly wanted to learn how to cook myself.  I not only think it is essential to learn to cook but to enjoy all that the culinary world has to offer. Food defines culture all around the world, and by exposing myself to new menus and dining, I can appreciate what the club offers to the Abbey upperclassmen. Coming from a family that cooks very little (my mother and father), I would love to impress them with new ideas for dinners as well as cook for them more as well. I hope to become a part of the Culinary Club this year with you and Mr. Calisto.

Samuel Ding ’18I would love to join this year’s Culinary Arts Club. As an international student and a lover of food, I have always had a passion for good foreign food that represents its local culture. Three years ago, due to my extreme interest in the diverse culture in America, I decided to enroll in an American high school. Unfortunately, due to the absence of my parents and lack of transportation, I’ve never had a chance to really explore this diverse culinary world in New England. By granting me a chance to join the club, I will finally get to explore this fantastic culture through my tastebuds and open my eyesight.  Overall, I believe I can add great value to the team. 

Tommy Teravainen ’18As a master of procrastination, I have decided to begin my application with fifteen minutes to spare, so time to wow you. Two years ago, I took a job as a prep cook at Momo’s Food Emporium in my hometown of Sandwich, Massachusetts. Momo’s was a café/prepared food eatery/sandwich shop/artisanal food emporium, as well as a showcase for the paintings and works of local artists. The menu included anything from spanikopita (a spinach and feta pie) to the traditional turkey club sandwich. My summer spent working at Momo’s taught me how to make a wide variety of foods. Yes, a 15-year-old boy can thoroughly enjoy making quiche lorraine and Portabella stuffed mushrooms. In late August, the owner told us the restaurant would be closing after seven years of being the spot in East Sandwich to grab a bite to eat. As a matter of fact, Momo’s won best sandwich in Sandwich in its prime. That summer inspired me with a love for cooking. I had already possessed a prior love for food, and I hope that my knowledge can be enriched in the Culinary Arts Club.

Alex Sienkiewicz ’18 – There are many reasons why I wish to join the Culinary Arts Club. While I was growing up, my grandmother would make food daily, whether it be spaghetti and meatballs, or her famous fried chicken; regardless, I never went hungry while she was around. Although I mostly ate Italian food, and the occasional Portuguese food, I was always open to something my grandmother would be making. As I get older, I am more willing to try new foods, and a perfect way to do that would be through the Culinary Arts Club. Although it might not be my grandmother’s cooking, and might not always be Italian food, I am open to exploring different foods from many different people. I would love to be able to expand my taste of food to things beyond my comfort zone, and this would be the perfect way to do so.

Maya Wilson ‘17Growing up in a Latin home has its perks. Even though my mom is Dominican, she never learned to cook a single dish, and to this day, I know she regrets it. Instead, my childhood years were filled with Abuelo and Abuela’s special recipes—anywhere from your standard tostones (fried plantains) and salami, to fully blown Dominican feasts, including La Bandera (a combination of rice, beans and meat), sancocho (a mixed-meat and vegetable stew), arepitas (fried yuca), and Ensalada de Repollo (cabbage salad). My fondest memories of home have always included some sort of experience with cooking, whether it was standing on a stool as my dad taught me to bake cookies or observing as my Abuela danced her way around the kitchen, filling the entire house with pungent spices. I think it’s worth mentioning that my entire family has quite an appetite for anything starting with “F” and ending in “OOD,” so I’d never turn down an opportunity to try something new.

My roommate from last year, Hannah Banderob, also got to be a part of this club and frequently would tell me stories about all the amazing things she got to do on her Sundays. Needless to say, I was extremely jealous, and I knew I would have loved to be a part of it. That being said, here I am in my Sixth Form year, and I have no problem starting something new. I think we can all agree that the Culinary Arts are one of the many traditions that string generations together. No matter how young or old you are, the kitchen has always been able to bring people together and oftentimes, family meals tend to hold some of the greatest memories. My own experiences have proved that. For the longest time, my Abuelo and Abuela have done all the heavy lifting. I’d like to think that after this year, maybe I could teach them a thing or two…

Johanna Appleton ‘17To be honest, I don’t know much about preparing food, but I sure know a lot about eating it! I want to join Culinary Arts Club because I find that food brings people together. When people sit down for a meal, they don’t just enjoy the food, they enjoy each other’s company. When family members send a care package, they send their love along with the brownies. Every Tuesday advisory meeting, I don’t just look forward to baked goods; I look forward to the companionable time my advisory spends eating them. As of right now, I am admittedly hopeless in the kitchen. However, I really want to learn more about the culinary arts, and to share that experience with others.  I hope that by preparing food, I can someday make other people as happy as I am when eating food prepared for me.

Tommy Teravainen ‘18Two years ago, I took a job as a prep cook at Momo’s Food Emporium in my hometown of Sandwich, Massachusetts. Momo’s was a café/prepared food eatery/sandwich shop/artisanal food emporium, which also showcased the paintings and works of local artists. The menu included anything from spanikopita (a spinach and feta pie) to the traditional turkey club sandwich. My summer spent working at Momo’s taught me how to make a wide variety of foods. Yes, a 15-year-old boy can thoroughly enjoy making quiche lorraine and portabella-stuffed mushrooms. In late August, the owner told us the restaurant would be closing after seven years of being the spot in East Sandwich to grab a bite to eat. As a matter of fact, Momo’s won best sandwich in Sandwich in its prime. That summer inspired me with a love for cooking, and added to my love for food.

Diane Greg-Uanseru ‘17 Cooking has been a serious passion of mine since I was very young. I would very much enjoy learning how to cook diverse and delicious dishes from different cultures. Having the chance to learn and cook with professionals is an intriguing opportunity I would love to be a part of!

I have always had an interest in the art of cooking since I was a little girl. The only foods I have come to know well are Nigerian and English, and I would like to expand my knowledge of the diverse variety of foods. I would rate myself as a mediocre cook, and I believe through the Culinary Arts Club, I would be able to increase my skill level. Also, I love trying new things, especially food.

Amber Liao ‘17Growing up in the historical city of Xi’an, China, I always introduce my hometown with, “You know, the place with the terra-cotta warriors and the amazing food?” Behold: crumbled flatbread in mutton stew, glutinous rice and date cake, hand-stretched noodles, juicy pork in a steamed bread sandwich… Strolling down the famous Muslim quarter and immersed in the twilight old bell chimes, I feel blessed, amidst the gourmet food. Now, why am I passionate about food? Well, it arouses nostalgia. It constitutes part of my identity.

Food brings joy. Quality food brings about an excess of it to the palate, but more so to the mind. I love eating, and I genuinely want to learn cooking; the latter allows me to return the favor and bring joy back into the world. I would love for a chance to learn more about western cuisine and interact with chefs, so with an opportunity provided, I would be more than willing to devote my time into it.

Ana Dwyer ‘17I really enjoy food and love trying new foods. During the summer I tried different restaurants all over Aquidneck Island and was so fascinated by what different types of food were offered. I also love cooking and baking in my kitchen. Whenever I have time during breaks or weekends, I try to make a nice dish for dinner inspired by a meal I had at a restaurant. There are many foods I have still yet to try and enjoy; Culinary Club would be awesome for showing me new foods, and it would be so exciting to write about.

Sungwon Kim ‘18I like eating. I also enjoy cooking some Korean food. I want to see how various foods are made from scratch. I don’t have any passionate experience that I could write as a “thoughtful response” (in applying for the club), but I hope by joining the club, I will gain some.

Oliver Ferry ‘17Food is the communion of Science and Art. Every cook needs to understand the chemistry of how certain foods interact with the taste buds. However, a great cook is able to combine tastes in new ways and appealingly present them. Applying these two disparate streams of thought, analytics and creativity, makes truly good food such an exhilarating experience. Having lived across the globe, I have had the privilege to develop a broad understanding of food. In Hong Kong, my palate adapted to the spice of Szechuan food. In Tokyo, I acquired the taste of wasabi and sea urchin. In Singapore, I learnt how to stomach durian without holding my nose. These experiences have taught me to give the benefit of doubt to and always at least try a new food.

When I lived in Fairfield, CT., I became involved in my local church’s Food Ministry, which taught healthy and cheap cooking to inner-city people in Bridgeport. This was my first exposure to cooking, and I was amazed at the tastes that could be achieved with simple ingredients and care. Food and cooking have always been important to me, and through the Culinary Arts Club I believe I can cultivate this passion at the Abbey.

Jennifer Park ‘17During this summer while I was taking a class at NYU, I had quite an amazing experience enjoying the moments of eating together with new friends I met there. The beginning was rather spontaneous: I asked my roommate from Italy to try a Japanese takoyaki place for lunch. The next day, our gastronomic tour in New York City began, which soon spread to our dorm, where we welcomed six more friends who were also ready to dive in the world of New York City’s culinary arts. Seven of us–whether from China, Italy, Philippines, or from East and West Coast of the US– fully took advantage of our intrinsic curiosity towards the culinary arts and international cultures. We all shared opinions, first about the food, but then further about our own culture and future.      This wonderful experience not only reminded me of my incessant enthusiasm in culinary arts, but also encouraged me to continue my journey through PAS’s Culinary Arts Club.

Virgina Wolf once said “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I have already learned the significant value of eating together. More meaningfully, a significant part of cooking together is connecting with others, too. It is with this belief and aspiration that I am sincerely hoping to join the Culinary Arts Club.

Arthur Shipman ‘18From the age of about thirteen, I have been helping in the kitchen in my home, doing everything from prep work to sautéing to grill work, and I feel I am at or above the experience level of anyone in the club. However, I realize that there are many things I don’t know about how to cook and present food, and this club will introduce me to those techniques I haven’t yet been exposed to. I have expressed an interest in this club last year, and I also competed in the Iron Chef Competition between dorms.

Henry Wilson ‘18 – I would love to join the Culinary Arts Club because food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Ever since I first heard of the Culinary Arts Club my freshman year, I have wanted in. Even though I have grown a lot as a person between then and now, my love of food has remained constant, and joining the club is still a goal of mine.

Raimundo Riojas ‘17Like many arts I dearly enjoy, I am not very skilled in culinary arts. Therefore, I am not the applicant that will provide great experience and knowledge in this field. However, what I can promise is a love for these arts that transcends the sole experience of eating great food. For me, learning and understanding the process behind what gets served on the plate is every bit as satisfying as actually eating the food. (Okay, who am I kidding? Maybe not equally satisfying, but close though.)

I actually do find these arts therapeutic in a way. In fact, one of my favorite pastimes —and forms of procrastination— is watching videos related to the culinary arts on a youtube channel called “Eater.” Learning about the wonders of Kobe beef, being amazed by the tediousness of a Michelin-starred restaurant, or simply drooling all over my keyboard while watching people try exquisite foods are unusual ways in which I find a break from the stress of homework and daily life. I want to share my love for food with other people and learn more about these arts which I have come to enjoy so much.

Max Bogan ’16I used to be a really picky eater, so now I like to try to expand my taste-palette. The blog showed a lot of really interesting looking foods, and everybody seemed to be having fun trying them.

I also have kind of a competitive motive, because when I was little I was such a terrible cook that, after accidentally putting two cups of sugar into her popovers and a few tablespoons of salt into her cupcakes, my older sister refused to let me help her make food. I’ve gotten much better since then, but I still love cooking and baking and hope to pick up some new recipes.

Culinary club looks like a great time to be around fellow food fans and try new food experiences!


Yanqi Zhang ’15“Life, shall I compare thee to a waffle, or chicken noodle soup? Food is my soul. Before I came to Portsmouth Abbey, I had an almost scientific approach to cooking: I would measure, grind, and cut everything in proportion. However, I’ve changed since I came to St. Brigid’s. Because of the insufficiency of ingredients, my options are fundamentally limited. Thus, my conception of cooking changed- it has become more intuitive. Yet I’ve utilized every opportunity to expand my knowledge in food. Two years ago, I founded the Brigid’s Cooking Band (BCB) with Christine Gu, along with our disciples. We’ve participated in almost every event related to cooking at the Abbey, most noticeably the International Food Night: consider our work, the critically acclaimed Coca-Cola chicken wings and coconut milk. As the front-woman of my cooking group, I’m currently planning on giving a lecture at St. Phil’s about oriental diet. I’m constantly asking myself philosophical questions: why do we eat some particular food? The only solution is to explore as much as possible in the world of culinary arts.”

Kai Smith ’15–“I worked at a few restaurants this summer, including a cheese and wine bar where I learned a few things about good cheese. I also worked with a local chef who used food from local farmers and put on food demos every Saturday at Eastern Market, the oldest farmer’s market in D.C.”


Nelson Choi ’16–“I consider myself a gastronome, and one of my goals of my life is to learn cooking at extensive length, so I would be able to cook almost anything I want to eat at any time.This passion for cooking became more intense after watching the movie ‘Chef’ on the plane coming to school this year. The savory magic of the movie just simply captivated me!”

Christine Gu ’17“Growing up in a family with a number of cooking-lovers, I showed particular interest in making food and tasting different cuisines. I enjoyed watching my relatives while they were cooking, and I often begged them to explain to me their own ‘secret recipes.’ Before my 8th grade summer vacation, my mom began to work far from home (my dad works in another city). Therefore, I lived alone for three entire months. That was actually a really hard time. Besides the fear of loneliness, I had to cook for myself after school. Cooking dinner became the only thing that cheered me up in those days. I decided to know more about cooking from then on. (True story, I am not making it sound touching.) After I came to the Abbey, I realized a huge problem. My cultural background in some degree has limited my knowledge of culinary arts. Even though I know oriental cuisine relatively well, I barely know anything about Western culinary art. For example, I do not know how to cook with an oven…”


Rosie Randolph ’17“Learning how to cook well has been on my agenda for some time and I’d really love a chance to expand my skills. Being able to feed yourself without resorting to frozen dinners and/or poptarts is really a necessity, because your diet controls your health, which controls your performance at school/work, which controls practically everything else in your life. I spent some time this summer learning a couple things from a Japanese chef, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself.” 

Chelsey Ayin ’15“I am planning on studying food and nutrition in University as it has been my passion for a long time. I hope on becoming a food nutritionist in the near future. I love to cook and I love to eat food even more.” 


Schuyler Jordan ’15“I have been working as a prep cook at Glorious Affairs this summer. I have really enjoyed learning how to prepare and present food. I would like to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.”

David Ingraham ’17“I have always loved to be in the kitchen and help make dinner for my family. I have always considered it as a career option, but I don’t know much about the field.”


Sam Choi ’16“I had the privilege to go to many restaurants and experience many cuisines ranging from French to Japanese. I have been trying to cook occasionally when I got the opportunity to do so. In fact, last year I bought lamb racks and Foie Gras so my classmates and I could cook it at Mr. Smith’s house.”

Grace Gibbons ’17“I come from a family of very experienced cooks and would like to learn how to cook myself. However, I want to learn how to cook through the school as I don’t have enough time to be taught by my mom or grandfather. As much as I love eating food, I would love to learn how to truly appreciate a meal in terms of everything that goes into the process of preparing the meal.


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