Northeastern University’s Xhibition Kitchen, located in the Stetson West Eatery, has hosted more than 330 events over the past decade. With events ranging from cooking demos with award-winning chefs to interactive cooking classes, the Xhibition Kitchen, or “XK,” has been providing unique learning experiences for students since opening in conjunction with the 2004 renovation of Stetson West.
Over the past decade, the space has hosted numerous James Beard award nominees and winners including Jacques Pépin, Ming Tsai, and Amanda Hesser; local restaurateurs such as Ana Sortun, Tony Maws, and Jody Adams; and television personalities including Food Network superstar chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Lucinda Scala Quinn, the executive food editor of Martha Stewart Living Omnivision.
This year, the university’s cutting-edge venue celebrates its 10th anniversary, and the Xhibition Kitchen has a stellar menu of events for the fall as part of the semester-long celebration. The schedule kicks off Wednesday at noon with an event featuring “master griller” Steven Raichlen, an award-winning author and star of the PBS shows Primal Grill and Barbecue University. Raichlen will be signing his new book Man Made Meals after demonstrating how to cook his “Fire Eater Chicken Wings” and a “Lemon Soy London Broil.”
The signature dish of the semester will be served up during Homecoming Week in November when Food & Wine Magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin will be joined by three nationally-renowned Boston chefs for an evening of culinary delight. On Thursday, Nov. 13, Cowin will come to campus for a special cooking demo and discussion with the Northeastern community about her new cookbook, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen. The event, which will be held in Blackman Auditorium, will also feature special guest chefs Joanne Chang, the chef/owner of four Boston-area Flour Bakery locations; Ming Tsai, an Emmy Award-winning TV personality and chef/owner of Blue Ginger (Wellesley, Massachusetts) and Blue Dragon (Boston); and Kristen Kish, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10. This will be a ticketed event and more information will be available soon.
“These three Boston chefs are extraordinary teachers—I can’t wait to learn from them in front of the amazing audience at Xhibition Kitchen,” Cowin said.
Beyond the multitude of chefs and cookbook authors to visit the space, the Northeastern community has also been prominently involved in Xhibition Kitchen programming. Marilyn Brass, LA’64, M’66, and her sister Sheila have appeared in the kitchen more than a half-dozen times, including to film a taped segment for their episode of Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
Northeastern Dining also works closely with numerous student organizations to host and organize events in the Xhibition Kitchen. This summer, the XK hosted four classes of Northeastern’s first Food, Food Policy, and Health course. In addition, the Torch Scholars and University Scholars programs both hold events in the Xhibition Kitchen each semester. The venue also annually hosts the Pumpkin Patch and Gingerbread Village displays, both a part of their respective Northeastern Dining signature event, as well as programs to educate student-athletes about nutrition.
Additionally, the Xhibition Kitchen runs culinary education courses designed for students of all cooking abilities as part of the “Healthy Cooking Series.” Through this series, Northeastern Dining launched Cooking 101, a semester-long, boot camp-style program run by the university’s culinary team for students to learn cooking basics while working up to more advanced techniques.
Andy Vong, S’16, said he had only been cooking for four months before participating in the Cooking 101 program. He was captivated by the experience, noting that he gained a particularly keen appreciation for cooking appetizers after watching Northeastern’s executive chef Tom Barton methodically prepare crab cakes of varying tastes. Northeastern Dining hopes to run the program again during the upcoming spring semester.
Vong also attends as many Xhibition Kitchen events as possible, including one where Markus Ripperger, executive chef of the Hampshire House in Boston, taught him how to fillet a fish. “That’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time,” he said. This experiential approach to food perfectly aligns with the mission of Northeastern and it is what has made the Xhibition Kitchen such a unique space for the past decade. With a full plate of exciting events this fall, now is the perfect time to visit one of Northeastern’s hidden gems.