Cooking Up Leadership Event Set

It’s an unusual project that combines culinary talents with leadership skills. The NDSU University Honors Program’s project is called “Cooking Up Leadership,” a first-time event scheduled for Tuesday, May 9, in the Food Lab in Family Life Center 310.

Seven University Honors students will prepare meals that represent their individual leadership style. Each student will serve their meal to three invited guests and dine with them.

According to Matthew Salafia, assistant professor of practice and University Honors Program coordinator, the Honors students must have a clear understanding of their strengths as leaders and think about food as a way to convey Ideas.

“In essence, they have to combine their critical thinking about leadership with the more abstract principle of objects as functional and a means of communication,” Salafia said. “They have to ask themselves, if I were a food, what would I be? If I were on a plate what would that look like? And, as part of that understanding, they sharpen their own understanding of themselves into a concept so refined they can translate it into a meal.”

The participating Honors students, like Paige Johnson, a junior majoring in strategic communication from Ham Lake, Minnesota, see the project as an opportunity.

“I’m learning a lot about myself. This project has challenged me to think deeper about my own leadership style and why I lead the way I do. It’s also taught me that, while no leadership style is bad, there is plenty of room to grow as a person and leader,” Johnson said.

“I chose brownies and raspberries. The brownies represent my very traditional views of leadership. But, the raspberries add a touch of creativity and flavor to the meal, representing my willingness for new ideas and change,” said Johnson, noting it is a little nerve-wracking cooking for someone else.

“This promises to be a truly unique experience for the presenters and the guests,” said Salafia. “If it is successful this year with seven students participating, we will do it again next spring with three to four times as many students presenting.”

Salafia credits Memorial Union Gallery coordinator Anthony Faris for the concept of the project, and associate professor Sherri Stastny and NDSU Libraries’ Beth Twomey for assisting the students with their menus.”

The event is a collaboration between the University Honors Program, Memorial Union Gallery and the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Science.

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