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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Oodles of Noodles at UMass Boston


Students participating in cooking.

On Feb. 28, 2018, ten University of Massachusetts Boston students showed up on the second floor of the Campus Center at the U-Access center, shared by Campus Kitchen, for the monthly MasterChef Cooking Class. This was organized by Deanna Nappi, assistant program coordinator of Campus Kitchens, and LaToya Shuler, coordinator for student welfare.

Of course, as it seems to inevitably happen at any event, some of the people who originally signed up did not show. But, that was easily remedied: one student even calling a friend to join.

At just about, if not exactly, 3:00 p.m., we finally headed downstairs to the kitchen on the first floor of the same building. While we didn’t end up making what I thought we were going to make, it was still pretty exciting to learn how to cook something new!

As it turns out, Executive Chef Kareem doesn’t plan what he’ll have us make each class on a whim. My only tip for those of you hoping to make this a regular thing is to walk in with no expectations; let go of what you may have heard about this class.

Oh—try to be flexible with your schedule. We ended up staying a bit longer than we planned.

We were met at the kitchen by Executive Chef Kareem. You know that chicken you toss in your salad and noodles each day? That bok choy salad mix at the Sizzlin’ station in the cafeteria? He tests it himself to make sure it’s perfect just as often. And for those of you who worry about fresh over frozen—you don’t need to. Every burger at the Burger King in the cafeteria is always made fresh and never brought in frozen.

After a bit of a fuss over hairnets and gloves—with me taking an extra minute with my hair being the longest in the group—we finally got to really go in behind the scenes. We made noodles for everyone in the group with many a curious glance from passersby. The cheese pizza Shuler shared with us earlier did not keep us from devouring every last noodle put in front of us.

Of course, I was the fop who almost put my dish for my “customer” out of order, but I still had fun and Kareem was very patient with me and the rest. Besides, even for the near miss at the very beginning, I still got in my own seemingly skillful tosses of the skillet at my station to a few exclamations that made my day.

Whether because of the easy guidance or just the dish itself, the noodles everyone made were not that hard to make. They could easily be recreated by anyone at home. And, yes, the student for whom I made the noodles—bok choy and chicken in peanut sauce—is still very much alive.

There’s something to be said for cooking for a complete stranger. I enjoyed the feeling I got when I snuck a look in the trash on the way out of the kitchens as everyone finished their dish and noticing they completely devoured their noodles—the ones I made.