When College Freshmen Cook: The Hearth Brings Underground Dining to The University of Chicago

[Photographs: Sydney Combs]

Editor's Note: I first heard about The Hearth from our New York editor and University of Chicago alum, Max Falkowitz, but I still had a hard time believing that a college freshman was hosting epic underground dinners, especially ones featuring dishes gleamed from the cookbooks of some of the most acclaimed restaurants on earth. There was only one way to find out. I sent Eric, our intern and fellow University of Chicago student, to check out The Hearth's five-course dessert menu. Here is his tale.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a study room in University of Chicago's library, a building normally associated with a sinking feeling of despair and rising mountains of problem sets. Luckily, I was not there for any of that; I was there to take part in The Hearth, first-year Robert Lipman's underground restaurant.


About once a month Robert sets up shop somewhere on campus to cook a restaurant quality, multi-course meal. Each dinner has a theme. He's done angry birds, The French Laundry, and, most recently, Just Desserts, a dessert from five of the world's best restaurants.

He figured that on a college budget, most University of Chicago students won't have an opportunity any time soon to eat food from the world's best restaurants, so why not bring it to them? Students joke that with his random lottery that selects the diners, it's harder to get a spot at one of his dinners than it is to get into the school.

Check out the full menu by clicking on the slideshow.