NC State Dining and Wellness & Recreation Collaborate in State-of-the-Art Teaching Kitchen

In 2021, NC State Dining opened a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen in the Carmichael Gymnasium. The space is a result of a collaborative effort between Dining and WellRec to offer a unique learning space to the campus community.

Lauren Smith, the director of nutrition and wellness for NC State Dining, shared more about the origins of the project and its impact so far.

“The collaboration has been going on for a long time,” she explained. “There was a need for more resources surrounding healthy eating, and knowing how to prepare healthy food is a huge component of wellness.”

The kitchen features cutting-edge culinary equipment, adjustable seating arrangements and various technological tools that make it optimal for instruction. The three cameras and four monitors

 throughout the space allow audience members to see the culinary demonstrations regardless of where they are seated. Events held in the kitchen can be live streamed.

“The teaching kitchen has been a really wonderful space for students to engage with one another,” said Smith. “It has also been a great way to foster connections between departments.” 

For example, NC State’s Physiology department is using the space in collaboration with Dining to provide a culinary medicine course for students going into the medical field. The eight-week course features various guest speakers and chefs, while students learn to prepare different cuisines each week.

The Global Training Initiative has recently started hosting events in the kitchen to teach international students about southern cooking and culture. The classes are led by NC State Dining chefs and feature traditional soul food staples along with the history and significance behind those foods. 

“The kitchen has brought a new aspect of community-building to campus,” said Smith. “Food really brings us together, whether it’s celebrating cultural foods or sharing new foods with one another.” 

Smith is optimistic about the future of the kitchen. She plans to continue to expand the campus community’s use for the space and potentially use it to partner with local restaurants. “The kitchen is a great way to show what NC State Dining has to offer,” she noted.

For more information about how to reserve the space, visit the Dining website.