Allison Dining Commons hosts Lunar New Year Brunch with Asian foods, performances and games


Valerie Chu/Daily Senior Staffer

Seven Star Lion Dance Group performs at Allison Dining Hall.

“Our goals for our cultural series is to celebrate and share all of the cultures that we have here at Northwestern,” said Sophia Bamiatzis, a district marketing manager for Compass Group.

Valerie Chu, Design Editor

Students enjoyed Asian foods, activities and events at Sunday’s Lunar New Year Brunch in Allison Dining Commons. 

District Executive Chef Demetrios Kyprianos said his team focused on making Lunar New Year foods, including red bean-inspired desserts and pork dumplings. 

Each dining hall featured recipes from Chef Jet Tila, a former “Iron Chef America” contestant who previously worked with the Compass Group. Kyprianos said the dining hall teams ensured all associates knew the techniques to cook each menu item. 

“It’s exciting to see the joy (the food) brings to students’ faces,” Kyprianos said. “We’re giving them an experience that they can take with them. It’s all about creating memories. We love doing that.” 

Sophia Bamiatzis, a district marketing manager for Compass Group, said Northwestern Dining’s Cultural Series has previously focused on food. 

This year, the event incorporated cultural art, games and performances. 

“We know that our students appreciate gathering over food, so we wanted to heighten the excitement by showcasing our menu,” Bamiatzis said. “But we also want to go ‘beyond the plate’ with our programming, so that’s why we’re integrating other things such as student organization partnerships.”

NU Dining partnered with the Korean American Student Association, the Taiwanese American Students Association and the Chinese Students Association for the event. 

SESP junior and KASA Cultural Chair Kaylee Kim said the three organizations were already planning a separate Lunar New Year event when NU Dining asked if the associations wanted to collaborate on the dining hall event.

The three organizations brainstormed a Chinese yo-yo activity, chopstick game and paper cutting table, which Kim ran at the Lunar New Year Brunch. 

“It’s a traditional activity — you do it for Lunar New Year’s and it’s simple,” Kim said. “It’s a good time to celebrate our Asian culture.” 

Daron Lee, a drum player for the Seven Star Lion Dance Group, said he was excited to showcase his culture and tradition with the lion dance, which he believes will bring good luck to the NU campus for Chinese New Year.

Treblemakers Social Chair and Medill sophomore Angela Zhang said attending and performing at the event as a Chinese American felt like having a home away from home.

“Being able to perform with the people that mean so much to me is also a home,” Zhang said. “We’re just so honored to be here and perform.”

The Treblemakers sang three songs, including “Brightest Star in the Night Sky (夜空中最亮的星)” by Escape Plan (逃跑计划), which Zhang said they chose to honor their Asian American Pacific Islander heritage. 

Weinberg senior David Wang, who attended the brunch in a traditional Chinese magua, said he was excited to try the food — especially the dumplings. 

“I think it’s a great way to celebrate a cultural heritage which a lot of people on this campus share,” Wang said. 

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