Faculty explores Chinese culture and history


Recipients of the Faculty Summer Fellowship Program travelled to Shanghai to tour the panda reserves June 20. Although the primary objective of the trip was to learn about the history of Chinese cuisine, faculty members also toured major landmarks within each city.

Lauren Cho

As a part of the fifth annual Summer Faculty Fellowship Program, 20 faculty members traveled to various locations in China to explore the country’s history and cuisine from June 10 to 20.

Director of Kutler Center and Summer Programs Jim Patterson said that there were multiple considerations that the group factored in when they chose China as this year’s fellowship location.

“One factor that has weighed heavily on our decision [to travel to China] was looking at the cultural makeup of Harvard-Westlake,” Patterson said.

“There is a large population of students who have that cultural heritage in their families, so it is an opportunity for the faculty to understand some of the history and culture of the students.”

The faculty members started in the city of Chengdu, where they were able to experience Sichuan cuisine by eating foods that reflect the Chinese culture.

In addition, they toured historical sites such as Mount Emei, Chengdu Museum and Dujiangyan, an ancient irrigation system.

Writer and cook Fuschia Dunlop, well known among chefs in Sichuan, traveled with the group in the province and guided the members by explaining the history and cuisine of specific foods, history teacher Celia Goedde said.

“As the plates came out, she would comment on all of them and how a dish might be a particular regional specialty and how it might differ from what we had a day or two earlier,” Goedde said.

In order to provide more insight on Chinese cuisine, the group also visited a culinary museum to learn about the development of Chinese cuisine.

To conclude the journey, the faculty traveled eastward to Hangzhou and Shanghai, where they went on walking tours along historical sites, traditional lane streets and panda reserves.

“The [Summer Faculty Fellowship Program] always exceeds expectations because there are so many elements that crisscross,” Interdisciplinary Studies Department Head and History Teacher Larry Klein said. “The places always play more deeply and more fully than they do on paper, and the underestimated piece of this is how everybody gets along.”