Sage Chasen, ’19, checks the bread he is baking on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, in the Culinary House. The Culinary House encourages students to prepare their own meals. (Tiancheng Ji/ B&W Staff)

Culinary House creates inclusive community through cooking


The Culinary House, one of Lehigh’s newest themed residential communities, is labeled as “an inclusive community full of food lovers.”

New this past fall, the Culinary House, located in Warren Square, consists of 14 students in a co-ed house equipped with a large kitchen.

Freshmen are not allowed to live in the Culinary House. Most of the students that currently live there are sophomores. About half of the 14 are planning to continue living in the community again next year.

Community coordinator Sage Chasen, ’19, came up with the idea for the Culinary House just last year.

“My friends in the house now and I always went out to eat (last year),” Chasen said, “so we thought something involving food would be great because that’s how a lot of social events and people are brought together.”

Idalys Torres, ’19, helped Chasen organize the Culinary House last year. They had been friends since high school and were not particularly excited about the residence options on campus for their upcoming sophomore year.

“We wanted to create a community because we didn’t know where we wanted to live sophomore year,” Torres said. “We weren’t excited for upperclassmen dorms.”

Chasen and Torres both said the process of applying for a community was simple. Torres said Residential Services was accommodating and supplied them with the house as long as they could find enough people. 

One of Chasen’s favorite things about the Culinary House is that it is actually a house with a community feel. He said it gives them a good opportunity to get to know everyone well.

Although living in the culinary house is more expensive than the typical residence halls, the students who live there believe it is worth it.

“It’s a beautiful house and everything is newly renovated. We have a really nice kitchen and the living space is awesome. The actual rooms are really nice,” Torres said.

Chasen explained that the people who live in the house come from a wide variety of cultures, and because of that, he has learned to make all different types of food such as Asian and Spanish dishes.

Kelsey Leck, ’16, ’17G, the Culinary House Gryphon, wasn’t as experienced with cooking when she first moved in.

“The assistant director of the Gryphon program put me in the house because I like to eat,” Leck said. “I am not the best chef, but I do appreciate good food.”

Although the community is based around culinary arts, most of the students who live there cook as a hobby and are not looking into culinary arts as a potential job. However, Chasen explained one common dream that many of the residents have is to own a cafe.

Last semester, the Culinary House held three major events. These events included a dinner with President John Simon, a Lehigh After Dark Halloween party and a brunch the residents made for their friends who don’t not live in the house.

This spring, the house is focusing on hosting events within the community.

The residents are trying to organize a Valentine’s Day movie night that includes baking and chocolate. They also want to plan a formal dinner where they all go out to a fancy restaurant together. And, finally, their biggest idea of the semester is a trip to New York City, where they plan on going to many different food markets.

Residential Services is in charge of filling the house with residents, and the system is first come, first served. The Culinary House is already completely full for the 2017-18 school year, with multiple people on the wait list.

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