Yes, Chefs: International Dinner Brings Community Together

The aroma of spices permeating the air and the Cameron Mann Dining Hall kitchen buzzing with students slicing and dicing could only mean one thing: preparations were underway for the School’s annual International Dinner on February 3.

Boarding student Elen Drahanovska ’24, who hails from the Czech Republic, looks forward to the dinner every year. The senior, along with Tereza Horvatova ’25 of Slovakia, was making a traditional Czech and Slovak beef and dumpling dish, sviečková. “I like watching the other students prepare their meals too,” Drahanovska said. “I always can’t wait to try their food.”

Head of School Laura Danforth and Dean of Global Studies Robert Fish opened the festivities that shined the spotlight on 49 countries. Twenty-four students had prepared more than a dozen delectable dishes. Menu items included tortilla de patata (Spain), tamiya (Egypt), ghormeh sabzi (Iran), käsespätzle (Germany) and char siu pork (China). 

The event was hosted by the International Club whose co-presidents, Patrick Phillip ’24, Eunice Wang ’25 and Jasmine Zhou ’24, introduced the student-led music and dance performances throughout the evening. 

“This dinner has been a longstanding tradition at Masters, and it’s really important because we always want to promote inclusivity and diversity,” Zhou, who calls Shanghai home, explained. “I think a good way to connect different cultures is by trying their food.”

When he wasn’t helping with the international floral display in the dining room, Phillip was busy cooking curried goat from his native Dominica. “This is one of my favorite dishes that my family always makes at home and it’s been really fun to do,” he said.

Wang, who is from Ningbo, China, was in charge of the entertainment, which included a steel drum performance, hip-hop dances set to Chinese pop songs, and music by the Chinese pop band The RECK. 

“We’re a very diverse community so by having these kinds of events we not only get a sense of other people’s cultures, we bond as well,” Wang said. “I have friends from Jamaica, and normally I wouldn’t have the opportunity to try their food but now I can because they’re personally cooking the food for us which is special.”

Lee Bergelson, general manager of Brock dining services, whose staff helps organize the dinner, is a big fan: “During the dinner, we frequently get inspired by dishes that we would never have thought of if not for this event.”

Dr. Fish, who promised to try each dish, was proud of the international students who made it all come together. “It’s a great evening, the food is delicious and the kids put in a lot of effort,” he said. 

As Ayanna Beckett ’26 put the finishing touches on a native Jamaican pepper shrimp dish, she explained why she loves the opportunity to share her culture with the Masters community: “The first time I made it was with my sister when I was 10. It’s a special dish to me because it connects me to my sister and my family.”

Annette Choi ’26
Bobby Ding ’25
Xiaomeng Li ’25
Elizaveta Melnikova ’26
Zara Murray ’27
Eunice Wang ’25
Jessie Xie ’24
Jenny Xu ’25

Annette Choi ’26
Cathy He ’25
Xiaomeng Li ’25
Xing Lyu ’26
Chloe MacKay ’26
Leo Schilling ’24
William Sun ’26
Eunice Wang ’25
Harry Xiong ’24
Laura Yuan ’25

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