CEGO around the World: International Potluck with Dean D'Elia

On March 21, the Coast and Environment Graduate Organization (CEGO) hosted their 4th annual  international potluck in the Energy, Coast, and Environment Building to celebrate the diversity of cultures represented at CC&E and to give faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to taste cuisine from across the U.S. and around the world. CC&E graduate students were invited to cook and bring dishes that they felt represented their places of origin. Fourteen students and two professors provided cuisine that hailed from several regions in the U.S., Nepal, India, China, Ethiopia, Norway, and Thailand.  

flyer of the cego potluck 

“The annual international potluck brings more to the table than just delicious food,” said Wokil Bam, president of CEGO. “As an international student, I feel this event allows me to display my culture through its food. As CEGO president, I am proud that we continue to celebrate with more success each year. Personally, I would like to thank all the volunteers who cooked, participated, and helped us organize the event.”

participants trying out the spread of food at the potluck. 

In addition to the general celebration, an informal contest for the best dish was judged by three CC&E employees. Alex McClellan won first place with his dish, Tom Kha Gai, from Thailand. The two runners-up, Wokil Bam and Katie Bowes, served Momo from Nepal and Crawfish Étouffée from Louisiana, respectively.  


“These potlucks are a refreshing exposure to diverse flavors and culture from which I can get inspiration,” said first-place winner McClellan.  “The dish I made this year, Tom Kha Gai, is a Thai dish and one of my favorites. I wanted to make a dish from a country that was not already represented in the potluck—for a previous year I made a Cuban dish.”


See the full list of participants below:  


  • Xuan Chen, Pork Ribs, China  
  • Dongxiao Yin, Lotus Root, China 
  • Ali Reza Payandeh, Ghormeh Sabzi, Persia 
  • Debebe Fanta, Tibs Be Enjera, Ethiopia 
  • Kendall Valentine, Lefse, Minnesota/Norway 
  • Alex McClellan, Tom Kha Gai, Thailand 
  • Rohit Kalvakaalva, Chicken Curry, India 
  • Kiran Upreti, Potato Salad, Nepal 
  • Wokil Bam, Momo, Nepal 
  • Megan Kelsall, Cookie Brownies, U.S. 
  • Mark Benfield, Green Chicken Chile, Southwest U.S. 
  • Lizz Keller, “Those Potatoes,” U.S. 
  • Rachel Correll, Wings, U.S. 
  • Katie Bowes, Crawfish Étouffée, Louisiana