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Building community while cooking-for-yourself

Star chef Brian McCarthy shows MIT students a different way to cook — vegan style!
Vegan chef Brian McCarthy taught MIT students how to cook vegan.
Vegan chef Brian McCarthy taught MIT students how to cook vegan.
Photo: Dawn Anderson

How do you get MIT students to take a break from studying for finals? Offer them a free class on how to cook easy, healthy meals. On Dec. 7, 20 MIT students jumped at the opportunity to learn how to prepare a four-course meal from recognized vegan chef Brian McCarthy.

At a capacity event in the Talbot Lounge in East Campus, McCarthy focused on the importance of healthy cooking and building community. He divided the students into different teams and taught them how to incorporate vegan-friendly ingredients into their everyday cooking.

"It was really cool to see how quick and easy vegan cooking can be, even without using any special or unusual ingredients," says Alicia Singham Goodwin '14, as East Campus resident.  "The best part of the class was getting to share ideas with students from other cook-for-yourself dorms and discovering new and exciting recipes that work within the framework of our college lifestyles."

After just one hour of cooking, the students congregated together to enjoy the dishes they prepared.

"The most valuable part of the event was that students from different dorms came together to cook and eat as one community," says Henry Humphreys, senior associate dean for student life.

McCarthy hosted a number of cooking demonstrations on MIT’s campus during the week of Dec. 6, as well as a book signing for his Vegan Family Cookbook.

About Brian McCarthy

Brian McCarthy completed a two-year culinary training course at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. In 1994, Brian and his family chose to switch to a vegan diet because of its health benefits. Finding it difficult to find and cook vegan dishes, Brian and his wife created more than 400 of their own recipes, which have been compiled into the Vegan Family Cookbook.

McCarthy has continued his passion for cooking vegan by working for Bon Appétit at his vegetarian (mostly vegan) station at Intel for the past three years. He has also been a guest speaker for VegFest in Portland, Ore., instructed vegan cooking classes at Intel, Bob’s Red Mill, and MIT, and runs the Professional Vegan Cooking and More blog at Brian is currently working on a second vegan cookbook, which is likely to be released in 2012.

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