Student-Run ‘Kimball Takeover’ a Huge Success

April 2nd, 2013 by 

Slide 1. Kathy Egan and student chefs go over a recipe.

Slide 2. From left, Kendy Hess, assistant professor of philosophy; Robert Bellin, associate professor of biology; and Andrea Borghini, associate professor of philosophy.

Slide 3. From left, Elizabeth McManus ’13, Katherine Grant ’13, and Kimball Chef Lori Stanford man the Panini station.

Slide 4. Kimball Takeover t-shirts.

Slide 5. Rev. Philip L. Bouroughs, S.J., president, stopped by to sample some of the students' cuisine. From left, Fr. Boroughs, Paige Wesson '13, Kathy Egan, Emily Sheehy '15, and Meghan Donnelly '15.

Slide 6. Students wait in line at the Panini station.

Slide 7. A crowded Kimball Dining Hall.

On March 21, students at the College of the Holy Cross “took over” the Kimball Dining Hall from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. For those two hours, they started preparing recipes months in advance and cooking days before. 

The idea started with Paige Wesson ’13, who is interested in wholesome food and wanted to increase nutrition awareness on campus. Wesson turned to Holy Cross’ dietitian Kathy Egan to help execute the idea. “We put on the event together in honor of National Nutrition Month. The goal of the event was to raise awareness about real, nutritious food and why it is so important – especially for students,” shares Wesson. 

She easily recruited participation from the Student Government Association (SGA), Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Peer Educators (HEAL), Student Health Awareness Peer Educators (SHAPE) and Eco-Action, who all came together to plan a menu based on “wholesome, real food” recipes submitted by students, faculty and staff. There were more than 45 student volunteers. 

 “I believe the event was such a huge success because it was conceptualized by students — for students,” says Egan.

The numbers speak for themselves. Kimball usually serves 750-800 lunches on a Thursday; during the Kimball Takeover they served nearly 1000!  Egan says the success is more than just numbers. “The dining room was filled with an electricity of people having fun and socializing over a bountiful, creative meal,” she shares. 

Egan also says while the event was created by students, the effort by Holy Cross Dining staff was huge.  “Every single member of the Kimball staff contributed in one way or another; staff happily contributed many, many extra hours.  We all loved the entire experience and hope to bring aspects of Kimball Takeover into our menu cycle.”  

Menu items included cheddar, corn and potato chowder, 4Leaf chili, artisan breads, fennel risotto, Panini sandwiches, a rice bowl station, rustic Italian squash flat bread pizza, roasted chicken, kale salad, and vegan cookies. 

When asked what dish was the best, Wesson said, “I loved all of the dishes at the event, but I think my favorite was the cheddar, corn and potato chowder. Seniors Vivian Daly and John Rubayiza both said “Everything!”

According to Wesson, “I think the most popular dish was Professor Borghini’s fennel risotto and the Panini station had a line out the door!” 

In case you missed it, here is the recipe for associate professor of philosophy Andrea Borghini’s risotto.

Professor Borghini’s Fennel Risotto

Ingredients (eight servings):

1lb of rice for risotto (arborio, or vialone nano, or carnaroli) 
3-4 fennel, cut in small cubes/pieces
3 shallots
1 leek
2 thyme branches
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of butter
Salt and pepper (red or black)
1/4-1/2 lb. of grated parmigiano, pecorino romano or cheddar cheese
8 cups of water


Boil 8 cups of water with 1 leek and a branch of thyme; when it comes to a boil, keep it slowly boiling (you’ll use the water to cook the fennel and the risotto). Finely chop 1 ½ shallots, place them in a pot heated with 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup butter. When the shallots start taking some color, add the chopped fennel. Start adding 1 cup of the leek and thyme infused water in small portions until the fennel softens. In another pot, start the risotto: warm 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup butter. Add the remaining chopped shallots; when the shallots start browning, add the rice; keep stirring and add the rest of the leek and thyme infused water in small portions, as the rice cooks. After 10 minutes, add the fennel. Add salt and pepper and remaining thyme to taste. Add the grated cheese. For a vegan version of the recipe, omit the cheese and the butter.

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