Cooking club founder hopes to inspire cooks on campus

by Alexandra Richardson

Staff Writer

Photo by Zac Calvert
Zach Preston, senior teaching English as a second language major

Union University student Zach Preston, senior teaching English as a second language major, decided for his senior year of school he would put together what he has been thinking about since his freshman year: an official Union University Cooking Club.

“I’ve been cooking for 14 years and it is just one of those passions of mine in life,” Preston said. “My goal for the club is not only cooking but to be a ministry outlet, as well. It will be an environment where someone can learn how to cook and have fellowship doing something we all love.”

The Union University Cooking Club cannot become official until it gets a sponsor.

“If any faculty or staff has any cooking experience and would like to share, we would be delighted to have them come and share their knowledge,” Preston said.

The club is to meet formally once every other week and then informally more often if desired. There are eight members, including Preston.

“It’s not all girls; there were a couple of guys interested, too,” Preston said. “I’m trying to get more guys involved if they have free time to come and learn the basics of cooking.”

Jacob Landfield, sophomore biology major, plans to join.

 “I’ve cooked but it hasn’t really been anything more than spaghetti, quick one-step dishes, and desserts,” Landfield said.

For now, the club plans meet in the kitchen of the Bowld Student Commons, but Preston is looking for other ways for the club to venture off campus.

“I’ve looked at hooking up with possible local restaurants and getting to tour their facilities and have them show us the ropes in a professional kitchen,” Preston said. “I definitely want us to pair up with some kind of mission organization or even try to start our own. It’s not just about having fun. I’m hoping for ways to break the Union bubble and help some students who join it to get to experience other parts of Jackson that they may have never seen.”

Photo by Zac Calvert
Zach Preston, senior teaching English as a second language major, cooks eggs.

There are no fees. One should only expect to pitch in a few dollars when meeting to cook with the club.

“I’m trying to do it on a budget with things you already have in your dorm room,” Preston said. “One thing to do is be creative with Ramen noodles and peanut butter. If you add a couple fresh ingredients to peanut butter you can make a fresh peanut sauce for your noodles.”

The club will also venture into creating more adventurous dishes.

“The people who know the basics will want something to impress their friends, parents, or future spouse, so we will be touching on fancier dishes,” Preston said.

“I want to learn how to make a good pot roast,” Landfield said. “I’ve got the basics down, but I want to the learn the secrets to it.”

Fellowship is a key aspect of the club.

“As much as I enjoy cooking by myself, it is infinitely more enjoyable to have a friend there,” Preston said. “It is better to have fellowship, community and bonding. When you share a meal that you have both helped prepare, it’s much more than just eating food. The fellowship flows right in the food itself.”

Being a part of Union University’s new cooking club will have one involved in everything from fellowship to learning how to make a simple meal into something much more exciting.

“My biggest thing about cooking is always trying a new way to do something,” Landfield said. “It is better if you can talk to others about their ideas with cooking. I want to get to know other people and [get] their recipes.”

 The cooking club offers instruction not only on what to do during cooking but also what to do before and after the meal.

“We will learn how to be safe in the kitchen, clean dishes properly, what temperature is needed when cooking, how long you can keep foods for leftovers and how to eat healthy on a budget,” Preston said.

This club is open to everyone.

“I want this to be something that enriches someones life,” Preston said. “It is something to give back to Union and Jackson. I believe God has given everyone a desire to create something with their hands. Being in the kitchen together, we can create a meal.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.