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a look at the chef’s kitchen, a ‘hidden gem’ of duke dining

for duke first-years, the variety of offerings on the first floor of the brodhead center may prevent them from venturing into the vendors on the dining hall’s upper levels. 

unknown to some, the brodhead center has more to offer than the few places that are already popular with students. one of those offerings is the chef’s kitchen and its restaurant, it’s thyme, a made-to-order restaurant that uses simple and fresh whole foods that opened spring 2023.

located on the balcony of the second floor, the chef’s kitchen is a multi-use space, which also hosts weekly cooking classes teaching how to cook healthy meals. 

according to the duke dining website, the chef’s kitchen has just wrapped up its weekly classes, hosted by local durham chef and instructor john eisensmith. 

titled “get cooking,” the five-week series covered topics including “kitchen safety, knife skills, flavor profiling, meal composition, stocks, soup, and sauce making,” with an emphasis on “healthy approaches to preparing meals.” the next set of cooking classes will be available spring 2024. 

first-year ali pfaff had never heard of the kitchen or of it’s thyme. according to pfaff, she has “seen the kitchen up there, but … never heard of it.” 

first-years darian salehi and varun mittal agreed with pfaff, saying that even if they had heard the name of the restaurant, they had never known what it meant, with mittal saying that he had at most “seen it on a poster somewhere.” 

pfaff, salehi and mittal are among the many first-years whose familiarity with the second-floor vendor is very limited. however, first-year chloe woods-harris had many positive things to say about it’s thyme. 

“i'm a huge fan of it's thyme,” she said. “i feel like it's one of the healthier options [compared to] other places at wu. it’s just really good, healthy bowls. and it's consistent.” 

woods-harris also appreciated that the bowls offered at it’s thyme were priced consistently with the rest of the options at the brodhead center, adding that she never has to wait in the long lines seen at other neighboring dining locations while waiting for food at it’s thyme. 

“almost no one i know knows about it,” she said. “it's kind of like a hidden gem.”  

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