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Flaherty Hall to launch new signature event, ‘Flaherty Food Fights’

| Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Standing out as a signature event among many on Notre Dame’s campus can be challenging. As a relatively new dorm on campus built in 2016, Flaherty Hall is taking on the challenge of cooking one up from scratch.

Flaherty Hall will be kicking off its new signature event, “Flaherty Food Fights,” Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. in both North and South Dining Halls. The event — a cooking tournament that will culminate in a competition between a team from North Dining Hall (NDH) and another from South Dining Hall (SDH) — will raise money for Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend.

“It’s like the show ‘Chopped’ on Food Network,” Theresa Rogers, sophomore signature event commissioner, said. “Every dorm gets one team, and then they all compete in a tournament-style cooking competition in the dining halls. So, as in ‘Chopped,’ you get a mystery ingredient, and you have to incorporate it into a cohesive dish.”

Rogers came up with the idea for the event after talking with a family friend who used to be a resident in Pangborn Hall.

“She was telling me how her friends used to do this thing in the dining hall where they would find a random person to give them a mystery ingredient,” Rogers said. “They would have to go and make a dish with the ingredient and bring it back to the table for dinner. They would all taste test each other’s dishes and judge which one was best.”

In Tuesday’s competition, a panel of judges — some who are from the dining hall staff — will taste the dishes and rank them based off of creativity, presentation and taste. The winner will move onto the next round of competition, which will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The third and final round will be between the winning teams from NDH and SDH and will take place at NDH at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Rogers said her committee has been taking advantage of the NDH and SDH rivalry.

“It already exists, so we might as well use it to our advantage to generate some excitement. Friendly competition is always good,” Rogers said.

The winning team will get Insomnia Cookies at their dorm’s next hall council and a trophy to be placed in the dining hall they represented in the competition.

In terms of hall tradition, it can be said that Flaherty is in a unique situation because of the hall’s origins. When Flaherty opened in 2016, all of the residents then living in Pangborn were moved to Flaherty.

“It’s been a combination of saving traditions and making new ones,” Rogers said. “Most of the people in Flaherty now have only known Flaherty, which is cool because we’re getting to the point where we’re establishing this is our dorm and this is what we do.”

Along with balancing old and new, Rogers said she faces challenges that can come with establishing any new tradition at Notre Dame.

“It’s definitely challenging because we want to get it to a point where our events are mentioned and then people know what they are, but it will take time,” Rogers said. “It’ll take years to get there, but it’s definitely really fun to get to be the ones to decide what those events are going to be.”

Rogers said another challenge in creating the event has been getting the word out in order to increase participation.

Earlier this February, sophomore Blake Johnson of Siegfried Hall started Siggy Week, Siegfried’s first-ever spirit week. Johnson said the biggest challenge of starting a new tradition at Notre Dame is getting people to buy into it.

“When things are new, people are hesitant to participate because it’s unestablished,” Johnson said. “People might think, ‘This is not going to last, it’s a new thing.’ But as soon as people start getting into the spirit and start realizing that this is something that can be a lot fun, that’s when people rally around it.”

Rogers said she and her committee are focused on publicizing the event by handing out information in dining halls, speaking at hall council meetings and circulating a Facebook invitation.

“It’s super new, so this year we’re really focusing on getting participation up,” Rogers said. “That way, in subsequent years, we can raise more and more money for Beacon because they’re a really good charity that we enjoy working with.”

The amount of money each dorm raises for Beacon Children’s Hospital will be directly related to how much time that dorm’s team gets to prepare their dish. Donations can be made through Venmo payments directed to @flahertyfoodfights with the name of the dorm one wishes to support in the subject line.

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