Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Girl Who Did Gap Year at Le Cordon Bleu Now Only Eats Lunchables


Photo by Elizabeth Beugg

While most students dread icebreakers, College sophomore Melanie Rosenthal has a fun fact that is hard to beat. After learning of her acceptance to Penn, Rosenthal decided to take a year off to explore her passion for cooking. One year later, she entered her freshman fall with a degree from the famed cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu. 

Now a sophomore, Rosenthal explained that her love affair with food has taken an unexpected route—cooking on campus proved more difficult than she once thought. “My freshman year I really tried to make it work,” Rosenthal said. “The kitchens in the Quad were pretty inaccessible, so I would gather sticks near my entryway and build a fire outside McClelland. Then, I would give the vegetables I stole from the salad bar in Commons the old ‘slice and dice’—that’s a little cooking jargon for you non-chefs—and sautée them over the open flame. Very rustic flavor palette.” 

Rosenthal noted that the summer months allowed for even more cooking opportunities. “If I needed to bake something, I would just go hang out in my friend’s room in King’s Court for a couple hours.” 

In the end, Rosenthal’s efforts were futile. “After about a week and a half I realized that a lot of teachers here assign homework…? And reading? And papers? Some classes even had tests,” she remarked. “I just couldn’t find the time. Now I just eat lunchables.” 

“Is it a step backward for me? Professionally, yes. But personally? Lunchables are extremely versatile. There’s ‘Cheese’ and Crackers, Build Your Own Pizza, Nachos—and they all use the same basic ingredients. It’s ingenious,” she said with passion. “You can’t learn that kind of culinary innovation at Le Cordon Bleu.”