Student launches WSU cooking club

Woman juggles class, her sorority, becoming founder of new group



Chen started WSU’s chapter of Spoon University this spring. The club teaches cooking and journalistic skills.

ZACH GOFF, Evergreen reporter

Gianna Chen, a junior strategic communication major, was born and raised in California, where her love of food flourished.

Chen’s passion drove her to start a chapter of Spoon University at WSU. The small-town girl describes herself as someone always behind the scenes.

“It’s something I grew up with,” Chen said. “My dad is a big foodie too. Food is something that makes me happy and I enjoy looking for new places to go.”

Spoon University is an organization that focuses on helping students learn how to cook on their own while also helping these individuals improve their journalistic writing skills by writing about different food experiences.

“It’s not something I’ve ever done or ever imagined myself doing,” Chen said.

Tatum Van Dam, University of Southern California junior, studies cinema and media studies with a minor in music industry. Van Dam helped encourage Chen’s passion for food from a young age.

“We became friends because we both had similar interests in food,” Van Dam said.

The two loved to travel for new food experiences that the rest of their friend group thought was too expensive or too far away, she said. However, it was Chen who had the true passion for food journalism.

“At this point in my life I don’t know what I want to do with my life,” Chen said. “But in a perfect world, I would travel the world and write about food.”

Spoon University is a large corporation with a tier system structured somewhat like a sorority, she said. As the founder of WSU’s Spoon University chapter, Chen said she went through training with the corporation to receive permission to establish a branch on campus.

“I don’t want to have gone through the trouble of creating this just for it to end when I graduate,” Chen said.

She said it was difficult to balance school, her sorority obligations, social life and trying to start the club. The club was a side project she worked on when she could, while school remained her main focus. Chen hopes that the chapter will continue even after she graduates.

She said she would love to experience the world through food.

“I’ll be in bed late at night on Yelp bookmarking places in, like, Australia,” Chen said.

Now with founding the WSU branch of Spoon University on her resume, Chen also received a summer internship involving food journalism. Sometimes following a passion can lead toward a future previously thought to be impossible, Chen said.

“I’ve never really had a job in my life before Spoon University,” Chen said.

People interested in learning more about Spoon University can find the RSO on Cougsync.

This story has been updated to reflect Gianna Chen’s correct major.