Johns Hopkins University's first-year undergraduate students gathered for a formal affair Tuesday evening at the ceremonial High Table dinner, an annual tradition created in the spirit of the centuries-old dining styles of Oxford and Cambridge.
In a transformed Rec Center, complete with banquet-style tables, black drapery, and gold plated flatware, students hobnobbed with their professors, deans, and university administrators over a three-course meal.
"We talked about everything from Baltimore's hidden gems to the craziness of this year's presidential election," said AJ Tsang, a member of the Freshman Class Council.
The menu selections featured a locally sourced Panzanella salad tossed in Dijon citrus vinaigrette and garnished with garlic and sage croutons and julienne basil; champagne apricot grilled chicken breast paired with parmesan buttered potato wedges, poached green beans, and honey glazed carrots; and a Swiss chocolate mousse accompanied by a fresh berry compote as a dessert. A vegan entrée selection featured a roasted portabella napoleon with roasted red pepper and vegan chicken stack, topped with an eggplant marinara.
The menu was curated with the help of the Freshman Class Council and ResLife, Housing and Dining, and Student Affairs staff. In January, the group gathered at the Fresh Food Café and selected from several options presented to them by the chefs from Bon Appétit. They swapped the potato wedges from a sautéed chicken and capers dish to pair with the featured entrée. They tasted a variety of desserts—hazelnut cake, fruit tart, rice pudding—before deciding on the chocolate mousse. They even debated place settings.
"It was great just to be able to see students and professors interacting in a setting outside the classroom," Tsang said. "I was fairly engrossed with my conversations with Provost Lieberman and Dean Wilson at the High Table, but whenever I caught a glance of my friends at other tables, their talks with professors always seemed lively and vivacious."
The event is made possible by the support of the Hopkins Parents Fund.