As students entered the Table at Irvine Commons on Oct. 26, they were greeted by a large decorative arch and a sign that read “Benvenuti amici (welcome friends) to Bella Americana.” This marked the entrance to the Wow Event.
True to its name, the Wow Event is a themed night in the Commons meant to “wow” students with delicious food and fun pop-up tables. “Students can expect to see this event once a semester,” Amber Young, the executive director of Hospitality, shared.
Young added that last semester the theme of the Wow Event was “50s Diner.” Future themes are in the works, though they are being kept secret to preserve the surprise.
This semester’s theme was an Italian-American fusion, featuring a wide variety of dishes. From mozzarella sticks to cannoli’s to antipasto salad, the food options were vast. One of the most popular stations was the Comfort Station with baskets of chicken, pasta, arancini (rice balls), and more.
“I really liked the mozzarella sticks and cheese ravioli,” Jared Worrell ’27 shared. He had filled his plate with food from the Comfort Station along with grabbing the chicken parmesan at the Street Grill Station.
Alejandro Ruiz ‘26 loved the pepperoni dippers from the Satellite Station. “I wasn’t ready for this [event],” Ruiz shared. “It was a pleasant surprise.”
The meals weren’t the only surprise, though. Two satellite stations were set up, one for cannoli’s and the second for Italian sodas, where students could make their own of each.
Another surprise was at the entrance to the event, one of the first clues aside from the arch that it wasn’t a normal night in the Commons. Set on a display were Grazing Cups filled with treats for students to enjoy as they explored the food selection.
The final surprise of the evening was revealed in an interview with Young.
“We’re putting this menu into the Launch kitchen,” Young said.
Wow Events won’t necessarily correspond with the Launch menu, but Harvest Table decided to combine this Wow Event with a menu sneak-peek. That means that a Bella-Americana Launch menu is on its way.
Because the Wow Event was a Launch menu sneak-peek, students have an opportunity to impact the future Italian-American fusion Launch menu by sharing what they thought about the food on this form.
The Wow Event this semester was a fun experience for students, from photo booths to delicious desserts and everything aforementioned. The success of this Wow Event has created much anticipation for the next one.
Photos by Madelyn Olsen.