USF Dining offers international educational experiences

The University of South Florida is a cultural melting pot, with a student body representing more than 146 countries. USF Restoration Services celebrates the diversity of the USF community through its Tastes Around the World program, which introduces diners on campuses in Tampa and St. Petersburg to a new ingredient or cooking style each week. For some it’s a taste of home, for others it’s an educational opportunity to try something new.

Food has been bringing people together since the days of the caveman,” said David DiSalvo, district manager for USF Dining Services. “When we come to share experiences, expand our palate, or broaden our perspective through food, it creates authentic and meaningful connections between people.”

Research conducted by Aramarkthe university’s dining partner, shows that university communities have a strong desire for more global flavors that are often underrepresented in dining halls, with 67% of Gen Zers preferring authentic cultural cuisine.

When the idea for Tastes Around the World was first pitched at USF, campus diners from different countries were asked to give their take on the recipes. Thanks to this feedback, the chefs were able to tweak the food to be more authentic and even shared the new recipes with Aramark’s global college network. The program has since been a success, and according to Jessica Cicalese, director of marketing for USF Dining Services, when the Peri-Peri Chicken was served in the spring, a college student reached out and said the meal felt like… ‘to be at the house. in Portugal. “It’s very meaningful to hear these kinds of comments,” Cicalese said.

Tastes Around the World dishes can be found at Juniper Dining and The Hub on the Tampa campus and The Nest on the St. Petersburg campus. Students, faculty, and staff can use USF Meal Swipes, USF Dining Dollars, cash, or credit/debit cards to enjoy all-you-can-eat dining. The weekly international features range from a special ingredient such as gochujang, a popular red chili paste in Korean cuisine, to a cooking technique such as searing tortillas on a flat top with smoked paprika oil to make dirty tacos. “This program allows our chefs to be innovative and diners can taste and learn something they don’t normally eat,” Cicalese said. “Our dietitians can also educate them on the health and wellness aspect.”

Coming this spring, USF Dining Services will partner with USF Housing & Residential Education for their annual Juniper Nation celebration inside Juniper Dining. The one-day event features food and music from 11 countries chosen by the students. Guests are invited to complete the food passport of the event by tasting a dish from each country. The flagship event will soon expand to the St. Petersburg campus.

Another opportunity for the USF Bulls to try something new is the Produce of the Month program. November is pumpkin, and seasonal produce can be found on the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses in dining hall dishes and convenience store snacks. There are also pop-up samples that coordinate with product-shaped stress ball giveaways, which have developed a following and their own. Instagram account. In an effort to educate the USF community on produce seasonality and how to cook a healthy meal on a budget, in conjunction with Student Health Services, Argos Exchange hosts cooking demonstrations using Produce of the Month . Next month’s feature is the Pomegranate. “We want to promote the benefits of eating seasonal produce because it’s more sustainable and profitable to use produce that’s more plentiful and travels less,” DiSalvo said.

For more on the upcoming Tastes Around the World feature, check out the menu online for each catering location. keep an eye on Event calendar Where sign up to receive an email newsletter to stay up to date on where to find the product of the month. Contact USF Restoration Services to provide feedback and suggestions on their menus.

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