Food is maybe the only universal thing that has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together.”Guy Fieri
Students, faculty and staff came together and enjoyed more than 20 food dishes from 16 different countries/origins during the international bruncheon on Oct. 24.
The event was a collaboration among the Multicultural Leadership Organization (MCLO), Student Support Specialist Madeline Vardell of the Runway Learning Center and the Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Katherine Reynoso.
The international food dishes were prepared by student and staff volunteers along with Great Western Dining. Additional local vendors included Homegrown, Tuta’s Teriyaki Restaurant, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Meddys, Mexico Viejo, Crumbl Cookies and N & J Cafe & Bakery.
A variety of tasty recipes were shared to represent different countries where Newman students hail from:
- Yakisoba (Japan)
- Mini flan (Mexico)
- Chrysanthemum tea (China)
- Salteña (Bolivia)
- Empanada con queso (Bolivia)
- Cuñapè (Bolivia)
- Bao (China)
- Green salad (US)
- Pasta salad (US)
- Spinach pie (Palestine)
- Meat pie (Palestine)
- Za’atar bread (Palestine)
- Arroz con pollo (Dominican Republic)
- Mandu dumplings (Korea)
- Jollof rice (Liberia and Nigeria)
- Vegetarian lentil soup (Fusion of French and Ashkenazi Jewish)
- Biryani (Pakistan)
- Spaghetti (Italy)
- Lomo saltado (Peru)
- Chips, queso, salsa and guacamole (Mexico)
- Chicken cordon bleu (Switzerland)
- Tiramisu (Italy)
- Pineapple upside-down cake (US)
- Hummus and pita (Mediterranean/Middle East)
Guests voted on their favorite entrees, side dishes and desserts and winners won gift cards to Crumbl Cookies, Meddys or Homegrown. The winning dishes were yakisoba (an entree from Japan), empanadas con queso (a side dish from Bolivia) and mandu dumplings (a side dish from Korea) and the winning dessert was mini flan (from Mexico).
MCLO president Natalie Trigo described the turnout as “bigger than expected.”
“Last year, we had about 40 people in attendance, and this year that number about doubled,” Trigo said. “It felt very rewarding to give students and staff a chance to try dishes from so many different countries and bring some of the international students food from their country/region.”
Trigo said the biggest goal of the event was to bring people together. She was pleased to see that the international bruncheon did just that.
“Everyone got to enjoy their time with their friends and coworkers, and that’s what MCLO is all about — cultural awareness and unity,” she said.
Reynoso said she could recognize the joy on students’ faces as they savored dishes from their respective countries.
International student Kurt Bruckner Suarez, who hails from Trinidad Beni, Bolivia, said the dishes “were delicious and made me feel at home.”
He added, “It was a very welcoming and new experience to see so many new dishes that I had never seen before. For me, the best part of the event was sharing with friends from different parts of the world and getting to know a little more about the culture of each of the different countries we have here at Newman University.”
Vardell said many students were grateful for hosting the event and making it accessible to F-1 international students.
“Events that break up the monotony of the week, especially around mid-semester, are necessary for everyone,” Vardell said. “Many faculty and staff told me they enjoyed it and hoped we’d repeat it again.”
Reynoso said that she, MCLO and Vardell put in a tremendous amount of effort to make the event a success.
“We were also fortunate to have dedicated volunteers like Damian Gonzalez and Farid Robles from the soccer team who went above and beyond to assist us in a last-minute situation, as our scheduled volunteers were delayed due to early morning classes,” Reynoso said. “Special thanks to Angelica Rodriguez for her invaluable help in cleaning up at the end. I would like to extend our genuine gratitude to all the volunteers for their invaluable support.”
Vardell added, “We are so pleased with the generosity of all who donated or prepared something.”
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