Food fanatics: a look into UNCW’s chapter of Spoon University

Austin Suther, Contributing Writer

With restaurants in Wilmington as plentiful as sand in a desert, it is no wonder the UNC Wilmington branch of Spoon University has taken off.

UNCW’s chapter of Spoon University – which started in spring 2016 – is “food for college students by college students,” says Lena Moriarty, UNCW student and founder of UNCW’s branch. “I called it the Buzzfeed of food.”

Spoon University is all about the food. From the best local Mexican take-out spots in Wilmington to original recipes, it’s all-encompassing. “It’s a place where college students can go to find out where to eat in Wilmington, and where you can support local businesses,” says Moriarty. “We want to create a food community in Wilmington, because everyone has to eat.”

Though the club is new, it is making an impact on the Wilmington community. “It’s cool that a lot of local businesses know who we are,” says Moriarty. “There’s all these little spots downtown that you see but no one actually goes, so it’s cool to actually go there.”

While many of the articles focus on local restaurants and recipes, others are applicable to anyone, such as articles focusing on beer hacks or reviewing Chipotle’s new queso. Emily Baxter, UNCW student and member of Spoon University, has had unexpected nationwide success with her work. “I actually wrote two articles that went somewhat viral,” says Baxter. “One of them got picked up by Business Insider and Spoon University themselves posted it in the weekly newsletter.” Baxter says that she has gotten over 100,000 collective views on her articles.

Spoon University is as much a club as it is a way for culinary enthusiasts to come together and write about the things they love. “The best thing about Spoon University,” says Cara Ventura, UNCW student and Marketing Director for Spoon University, “is the fellowship and bond over something we are all so passionate about.”

Though Ventura is one of the club’s newest members, she has found comradery with its other members. “Food and cooking really bring people together,” says Ventura, “and even in the short amount of time that I’ve known these girls, it absolutely feels like a crazy foodie family.”

“We love to go out to eat all together a bunch,” says Moriarty. “We do really cool events, and I really love to give back to the community.”

For its members, Spoon University is more than having fun; it is about earning applicable skills for life. Emily Baxter manages social media and does field research on top of writing articles (and eating food, of course).

Coming up, UNCW’s branch of Spoon University is having their first large-scale fundraising event called “Sunset and Snacks Yoga.” On September 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach’s Access 43, Spoon University will do sunset yoga and sell snacks for $5. Half the proceeds will be donated to Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen in Wilmington.

“This is all for them,” says Moriarty of Spoon University’s members. “This for them to get benefits and experience, and you really do leave with some good things on your resume.” She says Spoon University is always looking for dedicated, fun people to join. All they have to do is go to their website and click on the “Join?” button for more information.