Crossroads Culinary Center turns dining hall into a scene from ‘The Hunger Games’

C3 is 'Catching Fire'

Students were greeted with Rue’s whistle and the sound of birds chirping as they walked into the Crossroads Culinary Center forest fire on Tuesday night.

C3 located in Ellicott Complex on North Campus, turned the dining area into different scenes right out of The Hunger Games. The menu was designed to fit the theme of the book as well as the activities and decorations. UB’s Campus Dining & Shops decided to use The Hunger Games theme after hearing that it was an overwhelming favorite among students, said Raymond Kohl, Marketing Manager for CDS.

The series’ latest film installment – Mockingjay: Part 1 – grossed more than $700 million worldwide.

“We want students to come and enjoy the food as well as enjoy themselves while participating in the activities,” Kohl said.

CDS has been planning the special event for nine months. Faculty hoped to break up the monotony of an average night at C3 by providing students with a fictional atmosphere that many people are familiar with due to the success of the series.

About 50 students lined up at 5 p.m., when the event began, to enter C3. There was music from the movie playing outside along with trees, boulders, fake deer, fire displayed on the TV screens and a ceiling projection of the sky.

Faculty members were dressed up as characters from the book such as Effie Trinket and Caesar Flickerman.

The menu the decorations and digital equipment were all borrowed from different places on campus. CDS was not able to provide a definite number for the cost by the time of press, but it didn’t stray too far from any other night at C3, according to Kohl.

“The authentic food served at C3 holds true to the food in the book and the movie,” Kohl said.

Each station at C3 represented a district from The Hunger Games. Rabbit stew, orange rosemary chicken and Cornish hens with sage rub are some of the foods that were made from recipes straight out of the book.

Students were shocked to come to find that they enjoyed the famous rabbit soup.

“[The rabbit soup] was surprisingly good,” said Dakota Gaulke, a freshman exercise science major. “You can definitely tell that a lot of work went into this theme.”

There were piles of sliced bread and cheese along with gourmet desserts, such as red velvet cake and apple pie.

Along with the special recipes from the book, there was pizza, mashed potatoes, pulled pork, egg noodles and more.

“The dried fruits and nuts were definitely my favorite,” said Megan Mcniffe, a sophomore musical theater major. “I couldn’t believe how good the food is and how cool the decorations are.”

CDS paired up with the University Presbyterian Church on South Campus for the event. Students were encouraged to bring perishable food items that would be donated to the church. If the students brought in the item, they were given a soft arrow to shoot at a target, which gave them a chance to win a pair of Beats headphones.

CDS also gave $500 in Dining Dollars to the student with the best character costume. There was a green screen that students could jump in front of and be a part of a scene from the movie. They could see themselves on camera and the videos were later posted on the CDS Instagram account.

Offering Dining Dollars is a way to encourage students who don’t usually come to C3 to try new foods and get into the theme. Students dressed as characters from the book add to the dramatic scenery, Kohl said.

This special event will be entered into the National Association of College and University Food Service competition, according to Kohl.

The menu, theme development, marketing and “wow factor” are all taken into consideration when choosing the winner of the competition.

The Food Service program at UB ranks No.1 in SUNY University Centers, according to the results published from a 2012 SUNY student opinion survey.

The CDS team looks forward to having more special themed events in the future to add value to the dining experience and offer something new to students who don’t usually eat at C3, Kohl said.

Gabriela Julia is a senior features editor and can be contacted at