Maverick Dining, the campus dining program operated by Chartwells Higher Ed at the University of Texas Arlington, has been hosting a series of interactive Teaching Kitchen sessions every other day in the school’s main dining hall, Connection Café. Hosted by Culinary Entertainer David Patton, they consist of four sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday that range from 30 to 45 minutes in length and have the goal of encouraging student engagement, promoting learning and building community.
The Teaching Kitchens were launched last fall with a total of 52 sessions that semester. The topics explore the history of food, demonstrate practical kitchen skills that are relevant to students and show that cooking can be fun and enjoyable with salmon poke bowls, broccoli and cheddar risotto and kimchi fried rice being among the favorite dishes created.
“I wanted to expand my culinary passion for meeting my mission—making people’s souls smile through food,” says Patton, whose outgoing personality, engaging presentation style and passion for the culinary arts have helped make the program a success. “My goal with the Teaching Kitchen is to make people feel comfortable in the kitchen through flavorful and entertaining dishes,” he adds.
Connection Café is UT Arlington’s largest dining hall, each day serving some 1,200 guests—students, faculty and staff as well as visiting groups from the surrounding community—from eight stations, including made-to-order concepts. The addition of the daily Teaching Kitchen station now gives the venue a unique offering in addition to these outlets.