A group of students has set out to get their just desserts.
The Duke University Culinary Society brings together foodies to explore the edible options at Duke and in the area. They are getting up and running as an organization to plan events throughout the year, including cooking demonstrations, food tours and outings, a dessert expo and even an Iron Chef competition, said junior Isabelle Brogna, the club’s president.
“We are a group of people who enjoy eating, talking about food, trying new things, learning how to cook and exploring food options around Durham and in Duke,” Brogna said.
DUCS received a large number of sign-ups at the activities fair, said junior Katie Ferguson, vice president of internal affairs.
“We’ve got a good turnout to our meetings so far, but we’re working on planning events to draw on people and keep them coming,” she said.
DUCS is currently focused on its annual dessert expo, which will take place Oct. 24. The group will invite anyone in the Duke community to submit a dessert, which will be judged on taste, presentation and creativity by guest judges from local bakeries, Brogna said. Last year, judges included representatives from Mad Hatter’s and Daisy Cakes.
DUCS also has plans for other events, like a walking food tour of Durham later in October, restaurant excursions and an Iron Chef competition in the spring, Brogna noted.
They are also working on a YouTube channel to publish cooking demonstrations by club members.
“We’re planning on filming all of our events, putting them on YouTube and then getting a deal where we actually have advertisements on the videos,” said treasurer Ruslan Ardashev, a sophomore.
DUCS is active in other online locations as well. They have a new Facebook page and are trying to create an updated website, Brogna said.
“We are hoping to expand our online presence to create a stronger community of Duke foodies,” she said.
The Culinary Society restarts each year under new leadership, Brogna said, so along with the online presence, the community identity is still in formation.
“I don’t have any expectations so far,” freshman DUCS member Julia Dunn said. “I think—I hope—we’ll learn how to cook.”
But as DUCS kicks into gear, Brogna hopes that member expectations will change for the better.
“I hope that we can create a member group that feels comfortable going to the group with any food-related desires like going out to a restaurant or making anything on campus or cooking lessons, or stuff like that,” Brogna said.