Food, Friends, and Fun At The Heritage Potluck


As soon as the buffet opened, everyone rushed to pile their plates with as much food as they could. Even with four tables of various dishes: salami and cheese, sambouseks, and empanadas, it all went quickly!

Nora Bitar, Staff Writer

Before sitting down, participants of the potluck got to find flags that represented their heritage and display them on name tags. (NoRA)

Last Friday, the dining hall terrace was packed with bustling crowds, colorful flags, lively Cuban music, and of course, tables and tables of mouth-watering dishes—all distinctive features of one very special Bishop’s event: The Heritage Potluck.

On October 14, Bishop’s students, teachers, and parents gathered to celebrate this annual Bishop’s celebration of food and culture. As its name suggests, the Heritage Potluck is an event in which people bring a dish, snack, or dessert from their culture, and share it with the community in a buffet-style dinner. 

Because of the diversity of our community, participants of the dinner were lucky enough to try many different foods. From wonton soup, to cheese pizza, and to various types of samosas —there was something for everybody.

This wide array of options meant people got to try foods they were not familiar with. Audrey Lin (‘25) said she loved, “getting to taste other cultures’ cuisines.” Elizabeth Jin (‘24) also noted, “There’s a lot of really interesting flavors.”

Participants shared their favorite dish from the potluck. Mihir Bhagatwala (‘23) loved the dumplings, explaining, “The chicken ones were really good and they were going out really fast, so I made sure to get a lot.” With a laugh, Elizabeth said,  “There’s really, really good Irish cheese that I’ve been aggressively eating.” Shirley Xu (‘23) added, “I really like the glass noodles.”

Of course, savory dishes weren’t the only type of food brought to the potluck. There were various other popular desserts: assorted cookies, a bowl of red bean tapioca, macarons, and lots of other goodies. Spanish teacher and Chair of the World Languages Department, Señora Julieta Torres loved the Mantecaditos — a type of Puerto Rican cookie. Audrey’s favorite dessert was the delicious pistachio Baklavas.

We focus so much that we forget there’s a world all around us”

— Señora Julieta Torres

(Nora Bitar)

Besides simply enjoying the taste, trying all sorts of new foods is also a very valuable experience — leading to fascinating conversations that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. As organizer of the potluck and Bishop’s parent Jamie Gover explained, “It is so interesting to hear everyone’s story about the dish they brought—whether homemade or takeout.” She added, “Bonding over food is also a great way to talk to people you don’t know and to learn a little more about them.”

Another fun aspect of the potluck was name tag-making. Before sitting down, everyone made their way over to a table covered in stickers of different flags, searching for the ones that represented their heritage. Then, they stuck these flags on their nametags. This allowed participants to proudly display where they were from, and also familiarize themselves with the diverse group of people around them. Elizabath said it was “really cool seeing all the different cultures that are represented.”

Unique to this year’s potluck was the live performance of the visiting Afro-Cuban band, Los Hermanos Arango. Composed of four siblings (with a feature of Bishop’s parent Leo Valdes on the keyboard), their band combines a folkloric African sound meshed with modern jazz and other popular genres, creating a new style of music: Folklo Jazz.

Mrs. Gover talked about why Bishops invited the band. She explained, “Parents thought it would be interesting to expose Bishop’s students to some parts of Hispanic culture they might be less familiar with, especially as we have such a wide diversity of countries represented amongst the LatinX community at Bishop’s.”

Just as intended, Los Hermanos Arango’s lively music proved to be extremely popular—even for people not familiar with the genre. Shirley said, “I don’t know where [the music’s] from, but I’ve been jamming all night!” A crowd of people even went up to dance during their performances— as Señora Torres put it, “I can’t keep my feet from moving.”

“Los Hermanos Arango’s” performance was of particular importance to Señora Torres, as a Cuban herself. She explained, “Cuban music is what I grew up with, and I’ve danced since I was young. So, this is so fun for me.”

And of course, it wouldn’t be the Heritage Potluck without Dr. Mosley’s famous quiz. This year’s theme was Cuba, and it proved to be just as difficult as past years. Questions included picking Cuba’s top three exports and guessing the length of Cuba’s coastline. The top four contenders answered four out of seven questions correctly, and Dr. Mosley’s niece Ariell Heacox (‘06), took the winning spot after guessing the closest number to Cuba’s population. 

The Heritage Potluck was a night full of fun, but it was also an important time to appreciate the diversity of the Bishop’s community. As Señora Torres said, “We live in places and we work in places and we sort of just focus so much that we forget and there’s a world all around us.” She added, “We listen to the same music, we eat the same foods, and yet there’s a plethora of things that we can be doing.”

Elizabeth also explained, “It’s really important to celebrate people’s cultures, especially because this school is so multicultural. I think sometimes we forget that honestly, because this is a Christian school and a lot of the culture here is American—so I think it’s always good to remember where people come from.” 

Similarly, Audrey said, “We’re made up of a very diverse community. I think [the potluck] presents an opportunity for everyone to experience all the other cultures on campus.”

The Heritage Potluck fosters a sense of inclusivity and appreciation at Bishops. Through music, food, and people it is able to connect our community for the better. As Mrs. Gover put it, “Sometimes you don’t have to travel the world to learn more about other cultures. There is so much we can learn about the world from people within our own community.”