Whether you’re a Top of Lenoir regular or order Sushinara three times a week, the eating options on campus can grow a bit redundant.
For some students, though, fraternity and sorority houses provide their day-to-day meals.
Normally, to eat in one of the University’s 12 Panhellenic sororities, you must either be a member or be invited by one. But Jack Morningstar, a sophomore majoring in business administration and political science, created a blog called Pan-fried for which he visits each of the sororities on campus and compares their dining experiences.
As a member of a UNC fraternity, Morningstar said the biggest difference between fraternity and sorority eating is the ambience. He said some fraternities eat in the same rooms where they throw parties.
“The floor is sticky, there’s this musty smell — it’s just not really a place where you want to be eating,” he said.
Morningstar said some sororities, on the other hand, resemble country clubs.
Marie St. Hippolyte, one of the chefs at Pi Beta Phi, has cooked for both fraternities and sororities.
“I had been in the restaurant business my whole career,” St. Hippolyte said. “When the restaurant I had been working for sold, I started looking for a new job. I really just lucked into it.”
St. Hippolyte started out working for a company that connected chefs to fraternities and sororities at the University of Maryland.
“I saw the advantages of working a university schedule,” she said. “When I worked in restaurants — I was the executive chef — I was working every night. I was working every weekend.”
St. Hippolyte said she feels like her life as a chef caused her to miss out on a lot of her three sons’ childhoods.
“I was just gone a lot,” she said. “When I discovered I could continue to do what I love and work a Monday through Friday schedule, it was kind of amazing. I really don’t want to do anything else.”
John Killian, head chef of Zeta Psi Fraternity, also worked in the restaurant industry before making the shift to Greek life.
“It got kind of tiring," he said. "You never see daylight or your family or have time off for the holidays. So finding something that had a standard schedule and allowed me time to have a life outside work was really important to me.”
Both Killian and St. Hippolyte said fraternities and sororities pose different challenges.
“Working with sororities definitely kept me on top of my game as a chef,” Killian said. “There’s typically a lot more dietary restrictions in sorority houses, so that keeps me sharp, whereas fraternities are very different and simple. Their main thing is lots of protein.”
St. Hippolyte said she tells people a major discrepancy between the two is luxury menu items.
“The biggest difference is avocados,” she said, “The fraternities don’t prioritize food budgets, so they don’t get special extras like avocados or sun-dried tomatoes.”
For this reason, Killian said communication between the chefs and the students is of utmost importance.
“Students shouldn’t be afraid to be like ‘Hey, chef, I really appreciated everything you did last night, but I wasn’t too fond of today’s lunch,’” he said. “It’s a group effort.”
Neither chef would say whether they prefer working in fraternities or sororities, though.
“Every house has its own personality,” St. Hippolyte said.
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