Category Archives: Events

Event Tonight! Erotic Cake Competition

Good morning Columbia!

Tonight, the Culinary Society hosts one of Columbia’s most venerated traditions: the annual erotic cake competition.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, come sample an array of erotically themed cakes.  We have plenty of bakers and artists working on these cakes, and the spread is bound to be both entertaining and delicious.

Come to the East Ramp Lounge at 9 pm to have your fill and vote on the best creation!


Family Catering

Croque-en-Bouches with Mixed Berry and Crème de Cassis Sundae

A couple months ago, my mom told me that she had offered to cater a party for my grandma as a birthday gift and that I was invited to be her catering partner. The catering “service” would include brainstorming, preparing, plating, and serving a five-course, gourmet menu to eight hungry and self-claimed foodie guests. I was 100% on board.

So as soon as I got back home from my end-of-the-spring-semester activities, my mom and I started to prepare for the event. We worked on developing a few dish ideas by looking through all of our recipes from books, Word documents, online bookmarked pages, and collaged cutouts from magazines. We discussed and debated, and about a zillion ideas later, finally put them together into a cohesive and appetizing menu. A shopping list was written and a few days before D-day we began the incredibly long (and tiring) process that was the cooking.

However much time and energy it might have taken, the final result was well worth the effort that it took to develop the menu and then make it a reality—with a few exceptions of course. The gazpacho and avocado mousse with two Parmesan crisps was a much-enjoyed appetizer, but the tomato and avocado lollipops served alongside it, for example, were more of a failed experiment in molecular gastronomy than anything else. Visually, they were perfect, but their rubbery texture and imbalance between the flavorless avocado and acidic tomato was definitely a turnoff. At least we had the delicious and popular pancetta-wrapped fig skewers (stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey) and grilled eggplant dip served with rosemary flat bread to wash it down. Not to mention the paired rosé, whites, and port that my dad served throughout the meal.

Eggplant and Pepper Dip

Food successes and failures aside, the best part about this catering event was, oddly enough, everything but the taste of the food. I loved watching people decipher the menus we’d printed out when we brought out the mini croque-en-bouches and mixed berry sundaes, or listen to the “oohs” and “ahs” and diplomatic “very interestings” in reaction to tasty or not-so-great dishes. It was a time- and energy-consuming endeavor, and I am so glad that everything turned out well (or almost). But more so than that, it was amazing to experience the meal coming together and to then present and share it with my grandma and her closest friends and relatives.

Culinary Paradise for the Italian Foodophile

Eataly, courtesy of

Manon, Culinary Society President, reviews the group’s recent trip to Eataly (because our picnic in the park was unfortunately rained out!) and describes this delightful downtown heaven.

So what should you do on a rainy day when plans for a picnic had to be canceled? Go to Eataly, a gourmet supermarket specializing in Italian products. Right in the heart of the Flatiron district and next to Madison Square Park, Eataly is an amazing assembly of food stands that sell everything you could imagine, from fresh fruits and vegetables to tiramisu, biscotti to prosciutto, and everything in between. It’s even possible to find fish and several types of honey as well as a few different restaurants right in the middle of the market where you can enjoy a cheese and meat tasting, pasta and pizza, or hot chocolate. One thing’s for sure, browsing through everything Eatly has to offer can be quite overwhelming: there’s a lot to chose from and a lot of people to maneuver around (Eataly seems to have basically become a tourist attraction). That being said, it is still more than totally worth going there to discover the variety of things they carry as most anything you’ll get there is guaranteed to be delicious. It’s a true paradise for any food lover.

The best way to experience Eataly is by going with a group of friends right before lunch. You can reserve a table, enjoy a delicious pizza, and then explore the market on a full stomach (they do say it’s dangerous to shop when you’re hungry, right?). I’ve been to one of the restaurants there twice, and both times I left the table fully satisfied. Our table ordered a few pizzas from the menu and then shared everything. The final verdict was good: the crust is thin, soft, and chewy and ingredients are fresh. It’s a good place to get real Italian pizza. Continue reading Culinary Paradise for the Italian Foodophile

Blind Tasting Contest Tonight!

The Culinary Society’s final event for the 2011-2012 school year is tonight (4/17) at 9:30!

You will have to be more descriptive than Garfield


We will be hosting our 3rd Annual Blind Tasting Competition! Come on up to the Satow Room (5th Floor of Lerner) to put your taste buds to the test. This is usually the place where I’d elaborate further on the ingredients and details of the event, but I’m going to skip that… It’s a secret of course.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring a blindfold!

Club Re-Cap: Culinary Society’s First-Ever Thanksgiving Pie Competition!

This past Tuesday, in honor of the great food holiday, the Culinary Society hosted its first ever Thanksgiving Pie Competition. Entrants from all over the Columbia and Barnard communities came out to showcase their baking skills, with pies of all different flavors. Of course, there were the classic Thanksgiving favorites, like pumpkin and apple pies, but there were also some incredible variations on the classics, like kabocha pie (a relative of pumpkin), vinegar pie (a variation on the classic Canadian “Butter Tart”) and sour cream apple pie. The complete list of entrants went as follows:

1. Dezi’s Pumpkin Pie
2. Kittyball’s Strawberry Rhubarb
3. Erica’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie
4. Procrastibaker’s Cranberry Apple
5. Bakinator’s Pumpkin Pie
6. 3.14159’s Chocolate Cream Pie
7. Suzanna’s Bavarian Cream
8. Suite Kitchen’s Fudge Pie
9. Rebecca’s Chocolate Pecan Pie
10. Nina’s Apple Pie
11. Matt’s Caramel Apple Pie
12. Treat Yo’self 2011 Kabocha Pie
13. Kelcey’s Sour Cream Apple Pie
14. Mad Foodie’s Chocolate Pecan pie
15. Sarah’s Pie Apple Pie

Unlike previous competitions with the Culinary Society, where a panel of judges voted on the best entrants, the Thanksgiving Pie Competition was judged by the general student body. Thanks to an ingenious idea from one of the Culinary Society’s e-boarders, the votes were recorded via text message, giving everyone with a cell phone a quick, efficient, and easy way to voice which pie was their favorite.
With 15 pies in the competition, and 60 eager judges waiting outside to get their tastes, it was a bit of a hectic evening. In all, it only took about 40 minutes for the tasters to completely devour the pies and vote on their favorites. I, for one, thought it was one of the fastest 40 minutes of my life!

Although I only got to taste a couple of the pies, the student body was extremely pleased with all of the pies. There was something for everyone: super-sweet pies, savory/less sweet pies, fruit based pies, custard pies, pies with toppings, pies with double crusts, pies with crumble tops… you get the idea. It was veritable feast of sweets.

The third place pie was the Procrastibaker’s Cranberry Apple pie. The combination of apples, almonds, and cranberries, topped with an apple cider reduction, proved to be a winning variation on an American classic.
The second place pie was Mad Foodie’s Chocolate Pecan pie. Serving this pie warm was a great idea, leaving the chocolate smooth and melted, in combination with the warm, toasted pecans. This pie was one of the firsts to go!
The grand champion of the evening was Rebecca’s Chocolate Pecan Pie. Made with chocolate, pecans and a healthy splash of Grand Marnier, this pie was quite a bit more complex than the classic pecan pie. The addition of the Grand Marnier added a citrusy sweetness that proved to be the winning component.

Although the Culinary Society ran out of funds to provide a prize for the competition, the winners, Rebecca and Emily, took this in stride. All they wanted was a simple “2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate?” cheer from the bakers and tasters, which was given enthusiastically.
This competition was a delicious and memorable success, which we hope to continue next year. However, with Thanksgiving around the corner, there’s no need to wait a year to enjoy these pies again! And even if you didn’t get to come to the competition yourself, we at the Culinary Society hope that you challenge some of your families’ classic pies with your own culinary ideas. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon a fabulous recipe to take grand prize next year!

And if you want to try this year’s first place pie, we have also provided the recipe for Rebecca and Emily’s winning pie. Enjoy! Continue reading Club Re-Cap: Culinary Society’s First-Ever Thanksgiving Pie Competition!

The Great Pumpkin is (Almost) Here!

The Culinary Society hosted their annual pumpkin carving extravaganza on Tuesday night.  Transporting 15 pumpkins from West Side to the fifth floor in Lerner was no easy feat!  On Monday evening, a group of E-Board members checked out two blue bins from Hartley and steered them to West Side.  After we picked out and weighed 15 of the best pumpkins we navigated our way back up to Hartley–It was a whopping total of about 140 lbs!  I did not realize that going back to campus is uphill until I was pushing the cart along Broadway.  One lucky E-Board member had the honor of having all the pumpkins in her suite for the night.

Pumpkin carving brings back a lot of childhood memories for me.  Every year, my brother and I would get to pick out our very own pumpkins to carve before Halloween.  We would cover the kitchen table in newspaper and try to do outdo each other with our carving abilities.  After carving was complete, we would turn off all the lights and put a tea candle in each pumpkin and watch the flickering light animate our designs.  The pumpkins guarded our front steps until the first snow, which was often times at the end of November.  I think I always resorted to the triangle eyes, crooked smile carving technique so I was impressed with all the creative designs people carved on Tuesday.

At the event, all 15 pumpkins were quickly claimed and carving began.  Some students took time to meticulously plan and draw out the details while others decided to just go for it.  I had always cut the top off in a crooked circle, but a lot of people decided to be adventurous and create a star pattern around the stem.  Pumpkin carving can be quite therapeutic, especially in the midst of  midterms. There are no limits when carving a pumpkin.  Ghoulish faces, Columbia pride, dinosaurs, and sailboats all started to appear around the room.  As Matt said, you all get A’s!  Too bad this can’t count for your Art Hum credit. Continue reading The Great Pumpkin is (Almost) Here!

Practicing Knife Precision with Big Orange Gourds–Tonight (10/25)!


Midterms are almost over, and we are in need of some good, ol’ fashioned fun. And what better way to celebrate juvenile, simplistic, and wholesome fun than carving a pumpkin? So come in to this evening’s Culinary Society event at the Satow Room of Lerner Hall at 9:30 pm!

How is this related to the Culinary Society? Well, first off, an orange gourd is the ideal object on which to practice your knife skills and precision. Second, we’re going to be giving a quick tutorial on how to cook pumpkin seeds. Plus, pumpkins are food too (although technically not carving pumpkins).

Naturally it follows that we will be carving up pumpkins for the Halloween holiday. All supplies are included from knives to stencils (for those of you who, like me, are less artistic)–all we need are expert pumpkin carvers!

Club re-Cap: Ravioli Night!

 Tonight brought our 2nd Annual Ravioli Night, hosted by our master pasta maker Rachelle Grossman. It was an up-grade from a cramped EC suite as we met in the Satow Room for the lesson. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed!

Thank goodness that the GSSC didn’t meet tonight… As much as we love our GS students, it was nice to have the Satow Room all to ourselves. Instead of weaving around the student politicians, we quickly transformed our corner of Lerner into a cooking class. After an initial scramble for cutting boards, utensils, and dough, Ravioli Night began. About 20 members of the Culinary Society gathered in the round, standing by make-shift work stations.

Ravioli Night was one of our several Italian Month events. Rachelle led off with a quick demonstration of how to make pasta by hand, without a new-fangled KitchenAid. Soon she had students folding their own ravioli–some even got creative making triangle- and circle-shaped pastas. Pasta newbies laughed as they tried to master the art, but by the end of the evening, everyone seemed to be doing quite well. By the time 10:30 rolled around, everyone eagerly packed up their ravioli into Tupperware or plastic bags, ready to cook them for dinner.

*Remember, for those of you cooking your pasta, cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes, until the pasta floats.*

Recipes to follow… Continue reading Club re-Cap: Ravioli Night!