From international comfort foods to custom stir fries, vegan & vegetarian entrées and more, Open Kitchen represents the best of Vancouver’s diverse culinary scene. Keep an eye out for housemade butter chicken, awesome grilled cheese sandwiches, specialty poutine and our beloved vegetarian southwest bowl.
Open Kitchen in Action
Open Kitchen serves up to 3,000 meals every day to hungry UBC students, staff and campus visitors.
Have a question about dietary restrictions or allergies? Want to eat healthier but need some help? Our Registered Dietitian, Melissa Baker, can help all students on the Residence Meal Plan.
Our Food Values
We provide sustainable, diverse and memorable dining experiences. We believe wholesome, healthy food is a priority because our guests, our food, and our wellbeing matters.
Celebrating a birthday, holiday or special event? Looking for a custom cake, baked goods, or a get-well package to send to someone special?
Meet Our Open Kitchen Leaders!
Manager, Open Kitchen and Hero Coffee + Market
Lynn brings over two decades of hospitality management experience in fine and casual dining. A graduate of Vancouver Community College and an entrepreneur, she is a passionate foodie and is committed to food-literacy and promoting healthy choices.
Executive Chef, Residence Dining
Growing up, food and the kitchen were the centre of activity for Brad’s family. After finishing his degree in biology and psychology at UVIC, he found he was more interested in his cousin’s culinary school courses than in what he had studied in university – and the rest is history. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, he believes that great food starts with great ingredients and a passion to share experiences.
Sous Chef, Open Kitchen Commissary
Darren’s culinary background is far ranging and diverse. From his culinary apprenticeship with Fairmont hotels, overseas experience in South East Asia and years teaching future culinarians at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, he is never afraid to embark on a new challenge.
After assisting on numerous events for UBC Farm, Darren was inspired by the progressive initiatives happening in UBC Food Services. He’s eager to make a difference in the future of food at UBC and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the vision behind Open Kitchen?
Open Kitchen is UBC’s newest residential dining room. It opened in August 2016 in Orchard Commons, a LEED Gold certified student residence and home to UBC’s Vantage College. Brimming with dynamic chefs, decadent aromas, and a smorgasbord of unique and delicious menu items, it redefines food-forward student-focused restaurant design with its contemporary and vibrant design. It seats 316 guests and nourishes 1047 first-year students living in Orchard Commons, as well as the campus at large. This bright, modern, and innovative establishment sets a bold new standard for North American campus dining, reflecting culinary trends and best-practices with respect to selection, food preparation, service, atmosphere, and overall customer experience. Open Kitchen is our highest volume residence dining room and, we believe, truly one of Canada’s most inspired and interesting large-scale campus restaurants! On busy days it serves more than 3,000 meals.
What makes Open Kitchen different from other university dining operations?
Our menu represents a bold departure from the institutional dining mindset. We did not adapt the typical 21-day rotational menu cycle used at our other two residence dining facilities and most other residence dining facilities; instead, about 70% of our menu is now static with daily and weekly features. This innovative move gave Chef Chris Grosse the opportunity to focus on perfecting a range of unique and delectable signature dishes. Examples include authentic Phở and Ramen, a Bacon & Kimchi Burger, and Southern BBQ Ribs with Chipotle Cherry BBQ Sauce topped off with a Bourbon Pecan Tart.
What are some unique features on the Open Kitchen menu?
We emphasize delectable plant-based vegetarian and vegan menu items to promote healthy eating and deliver a lighter carbon footprint. Favourites from our large center-stage vegetarian station include the Open Kitchen Incredi-Bowl, Banh Mi Bowl, Botanical Garden Burger, Tempeh Tacos, and, for breakfast, our hot Tuscan Bowl. Other unique features include:
- Extensive salad bar featuring specialty daily salads and deluxe toppings (hemp hearts, assorted seeds, etc.)
- Abundant vegan and vegetarian offerings
- Healthy stir fries made to order
- Gourmet burgers
- Housemade soups
- Authentic ramen, phở, congee and dim sum
- Nutrient-dense foods such as quinoa, kale, lentils, and other grains and produce
Where can I find nutritional information and allergens?
Each menu item has a nutritional tag that includes allergens, ingredients, and a nutritional breakdown, because we know customers are more interested in this information than ever before, and clearly displaying allergens is essential. These tags exist right at the place of purchase instead of buried online, so students will take more notice of them, learn more about nutrition and basic food literacy, and can easily accommodate dietary restrictions.
What are some of the most popular menu items?
Our biggest crowd pleasers so far include:
- Incredi-bowl — Roasted yams, beets, shredded carrots, edamame beans, spinach, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, lemon tahini dressing, plus choice of quinoa or brown rice.
- Shacks Burger — Chipotle cherry BBQ glaze, grilled onions, housemade candied whisky bacon, crispy onion ring, aged cheddar, with citrus-scented arugula.
- Custom Kitchen — Custom stir fry made on a Mongolian-style round grill.
- Southwest Bowl — Sweet potato, avocado, tomatillo salsa and crispy tortilla strips on your choice of brown rice or quinoa.
- Nitobe Ramen — Pork belly, marinated egg, green onion, shimiji mushrooms, nori and corn.
- Southwest BBQ — Choice of beef brisket or baby back ribs served with chipotle cherry BBQ sauce.
How is breakfast and dessert different from other dining halls?
Our breakfast menu is truly unique and innovative. Hopefully it will adjust the way people think about this meal! Along with traditional breakfast items we offer a variety of vegetarian breakfasts including a Vegan Smoothie Bowl, Tuscan Hot Bowl, and Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl. Congee is available every morning and authentic dim sum is offered on weekends.
Along with common desserts, Open Kitchen offers healthy options including a yogurt parfait bar, an abundance of whole fruits, and healthy parfaits such as our Blackberry Quinoa Parfait.
What other food and/or beverage locations are near Open Kitchen?
How did we reach our goals for Open Kitchen from a building and branding perspective?
We briefed our architecture firm (Perkins+Will), branding firm (Glasfurd & Walker) and facility designer Stephen Tyler Consulting LTD with the following core directives: Focus on food; create a crisp-yet-cozy integrated brand experience; make it modern, engaging, and fun; do something special; and keep it simple.
The eight stations at Open Kitchen are strategically designed to feature food and food preparation. Culinary expertise is celebrated as chefs theatrically prepare meals with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Neutral tones are used throughout, including plenty of natural wood and cheerful chartreuse accents. A skylight provides natural light. Subtle textural variations of white tiles are used to distinguish the eight dining stations. We steered clear from digital signage and distinct station brands to keep the focus on the food and provide an elegant, integrated space for our guests. The branding firm also came up with a simple universal menu and signage system, using primarily 11×17 paper insert sheets.
The name Open Kitchen evokes accessibility, simplicity, transparency, and the cherished experience of receiving a home-cooked meal. The name was deliberately disconnected from the name of Orchard Commons as a means to attract varied customers and give it a stand-alone identity. The Open Kitchen visual identity system includes a custom hand-crafted font and a suite of icons that have been extended to uniforms, station signs and even the wood-grain food trays.
Have questions about your Residence Meal Plan? We’ve got answers.
We are proud to source more than 60% of our ingredients from responsible local suppliers like these.
Have you dined recently at UBC? We want to hear from you. Your valuable feedback can help us provide the best possible dining experience for the UBC community.