The Monthly Special: Battle of the Dining Halls

March 07, 2023
Lerner auditorium full of students

An Epic Food Showdown: Battle of the Boroughs

On February 28, five dining halls - Faculty House, John Jay, JJ's Place, Chef Mike's Sub Shop, and Ferris Booth Commons - each prepared a traditional and vegan dish and a beverage inspired by a different New York City borough. It was a culinary celebration of New York City. The dishes were then scored by a panel of judges, including students from the Columbia Culinary Society and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, as well as voted on by student guests. The competition was fierce, and each dining hall was fighting to win Judges' Choice and People's Choice!


Representing the Bronx, Faculty House prepared a bibimbap that blended this traditional Korean dish with flavors from the Caribbean heritage of Faculty House Executive Chef Leo Michel. The bibimbap, which included oxtail, shrimp, and jerk chicken, was served with a hibiscus fruit punch. 

"I loved the energy that all the dining hall staff brought to the event."

Student Guest


The 7 train is basically the artery of Queens, so it's no surprise that John Jay named their dish "The 7 Train Special." A fusion of Asian and Hispanic cuisine, "The 7 Train Special" was a Korean-style beef birria taco served on a scallion pancake.


What could be more Brooklyn than food from a bodega? The JJ's team transformed their station into JJ's bodega and served butter chicken empanadas and passion fruit and ginger beer refreshers. 

#BigSubsBigDill (AKA Chef Mike's Sub Shop)

What do you get when you combine Staten Island with Chef Mike's Sub Shop? A buff chick sub with fresh mozzarella, served with a nitro cold brew coffee and ice cream on the side. 


Representing Manhattan is no easy task - it's the mostly densely populated borough and home to so many different cultures. The Ferris team decided to bring the delicacies of Chinatown to Columbia, serving a beef bao bun and a mango and coconut cream beverage.

An Expert Panel: Student Judges and Chef Robert Irvine

The Judges' Choice award was determined by a panel of six student judges from the Columbia Culinary Society and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine. 

"I had literally so much fun"

^^^Feedback from one of our student attendees! The food, the ambiance, the excitement from the staff.... this was an event to remember (and to tell your friends about).

"Was honestly one of my favorite Columbia events all year"

Student Guest

But First, Let Me Take a Selfie

The food was incredible, but the opportunity to take a selfie with Chef Mike or Chef Irvine? Priceless.

"It truly was an AMAZING event!"

Student Guest

You get a t-shirt! You get a t-shirt! Everybody gets a t-shirt!

We know what you really want... a t-shirt to rep your fav dining hall! PLUS, amazing raffle prizes like a mozzarella making class with Chef Mike!

And The Winner Is....

Yeah, we really made you scroll this far to find out who won. That's because it's not about who won! All of our passionate, creative, talented staff won. Every student who sampled the incredible food won. We all won!

But we know, we know, you must be curious. This 2023 winners are....

  • Judges' Choice: Faculty House
  • People's Choice: Ferris Booth Commons

"Amazing. Totally exceeded expectations."

Student Guest