"A la UB whips up camaraderie, relieves stress"

The Spectrum

Jason Chan used to stand in the kitchen and watch his parents cook for hours. He never got sick of studying their techniques. The day his mom came home with a Betty Crocker oven, Chan began to cook and bake by himself, imitating his parents.

He brought his love to UB.

UB has a new culinary club that is defining its place in the student body. A la UB Culinary Club was established by a group a friends who share Chan's passion for cooking. The club's inspiration stems from the founding executive board's love for cooking as a hobby. It was also a way for a couple of engineering majors to express their creativity and bond outside of the classroom, according to Chan, a sophomore aerospace engineering and business major and the club's president.

"We just liked to cook because it tasted good but no one beats mom's cooking," Chan said.

Chan met Ava Chai, a sophomore computer engineering major and A la UB e-board member, at freshmen orientation. They discovered a mutual love for cooking and have been friends ever since.

Both cook for their own reasons. While Chan is reminded of his family, Chai considers it a stress reliever.

"When I started to learn how to cook, eventually I found that I would have to carry on the Chinese traditional recipes, because I did want to keep the culture," Chai said. "So through that, it was what motivated me to learn how to cook."

Chai learned to cook at a young age from watching her grandmother and parents cook dinner. Chai's specialty is traditional Chinese cuisine, but she takes pride in learning about different cultures and their special dishes to gain a wider cooking menu.

Another member of the e-board, vice president and sophomore business major Daniel Pu, agrees cooking is a good way to relieve stress. He takes pride in his culinary creations.

"Cooking is a small accomplishment that you can do every single day. It is a mini motivator," Pu said. "Because you can be like, 'Yeah, I cooked this and it actually tastes pretty good.' It is also something you can use every day in your life because it is useful."

The club, currently listed as temporary, is striving for permanency. Pu said once the club reaches that status, it will receive more funding from the school to host bigger events and teach students how to cook.

For now, the culinary club has to fundraise for money to host small events on its own.

"The whole point of a culinary club is to have a community of people that acts like a small family to cook together and learn from one another," Pu said. "Even though I may be called the vice president and Jason is called the president it does not mean that we are the best cooks. We can always learn from each other."

The culinary club is aiming to team up with Upstate New York Transplant Services(UNYTS) for a blood drive at UB to support the community and give back. The blood drive will be held in September and October. The club plans on providing baked goods as a thank you gift for the donors.

"We are a community and we like to help each other," Pu said. "Our main goal is to have a community come together to learn and share. We like to give back to the community [by] helping out with Red Cross and the blood drive because it brings a sense of community."

The members also devote their time in soup kitchens during holidays. Chai said the club plans to visit a soup kitchen during Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

The culinary club will be hosting events every month to reach out to students interested in cooking. Currently, the club is hosting events for residential advisors to help them learn how to coo, so RAs can teach their residents how to make dishes in the dorms.

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