Cornell University: Students sharpen their culinary skills in new Discovery Kitchen

In February, students in the two-credit course NS2470: Food For Contemporary Living gathered for the first time in the Discovery Kitchen, a state-of-the-art teaching space built into the ground floor of Toni Morrison Hall on North Campus.

A joint project of the College of Human Ecology and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Division of Nutritional Sciences and Cornell Dining, the space functions as a classroom, event space, and test kitchen. “Students get to see equipment they might not see otherwise — an industrial grill, pasta machine, fancy pizza ovens,” says lecturer Erin Green, Ph.D., RD, who teaches the course and directs the Didactic Program in Dietetics. “It’s a cool experience — they’re immersed in Cornell Dining and not just in a classroom.”

Food For Contemporary Living is one of the first courses to use the Discovery Kitchen, which represents an upgrade from the previous teaching kitchen in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. Students pass through Morrison Dining to reach the 2,400-square-foot glass-and stainless-steel facility. Meanwhile, patrons in the 1,000-seat dining room, which opened in January 2022, have a clear view of activities inside, whether students immersed in classes or Cornell Dining chefs developing new menu items.

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