Drexel Culinary Students Team Up with the Curtis Institute of Music to Offer International Evening of Music and Food

The Dornsife Center hosts free monthly dinners for the comminity. Photo credit Brian Michael Kinney.
The Dornsife Center hosts free monthly dinners for the community. Photo credit: Brian Michael Kinney.

Two of the most anticipated heralds of the holiday season – music and food – will come together at a special community dinner at the Drexel University’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (35th and Spring Garden Streets) on Tuesday, Dec.1 from 6 - 7:30 p.m.

The internationally-themed dinner will include food stations featuring Chinese, Russian and Spanish cuisine prepared by culinary students from Drexel’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, complemented by music from those regions performed by students from the Curtis Institute of Music. One of the Dornsife Center’s monthly community dinners, this event will be free and open to residents of Mantua and Powelton and members of the Drexel community. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity to ‘break bread’ with neighbors, engage each other and enjoy delicious food made by students and members of the community,” said Cicely Peterson-Mangum, the new executive director of the Dornsife Center. “Having music as a backdrop adds an extra layer of warmth and celebration. This is also an opportunity to bring the gifted students of Curtis into our community so we can experience their talent.”

Chef Rich Pepino teaches the "Preservtion and Seasonality" course that will prepare the dinner. Photo by Brian Michael Kinney.

The menu will include Chinese dishes such as persimmon and pomegranate salad and Mongolian-style dumplings; Spanish dishes including paella and a Spanish red bean salad; and Russian specialties such as short rib borscht and Russian apple cake.

The dinner will be prepared by students from the fall term class “Preservation and Seasonality,” taught by Chef Rich Pepino. A “side-by-side” course, in which local residents take the course alongside Drexel students, the class includes eight Drexel students and eight community members.

“This event is about weaving together two different art forms – food and music – to stimulate the senses with flavors, sounds and visual components,” said Pepino. “We are hoping to introduce people to a completely new cultural experience through food from three different cultures along with music from those regions.”

A string quartet, tenor, pianist and harpist from the Curtis Institute of Music’s “Social Entrepreneur” class will perform throughout the evening. The class encourages students to collaborate and take their music outside the classroom into a new and different context.

A string quartet from the Curtis Institute of Music will be among the musicians performing at the Dornsife Center's monthly dinner.

“The goal of this course is to create projects of great artistic and social value,” said Mary Javian, the faculty representative from Curtis and the originator of the project. “When Drexel suggested hosting an evening together at the Dornsife Center, I was thrilled. One of our students has been working with a singer from the Metropolitan Opera to learn Chinese repertoire. We want to bring the best music possible to the residents of Mantua and Powelton, as well as the Drexel community.” 

Guests are encouraged to wear festive holiday attire.