Sharing new tastes through cultural heritage dining

Sharing new tastes through cultural heritage dining


[MUSIC PLAYING] SMITHA HANEEF: We want you to
feel like you’re in a place that you would refer to
as a home away from home, and eventually
becomes your home. MICHAEL GATTIS: Our
mission is to tie into what is going
on here at Princeton, and that’s education. And we have that gift, to be
able to do that through food. Students that haven’t
tried something can try it, and it’s opening up
their world as well. SMITHA HANEEF: Right now
for the Class of 2020, it’s the largest percentage
of diverse student body we have seen in the
history of Princeton. So it’s a beautiful confluence
of such a wide range of diverse communities
coming together. And through food, we are able
to not only educate and nourish them, but also inform them
about cultural sensitivities, about diverse ethnic
cuisine types. We celebrate five heritage
months across campus. And student groups
engage with us in designing menus and events. During the Native
American Heritage Month, one of our students,
Emery, came to us and partnered with
our team members. In fact, he is leaving
a legacy for Princeton in educating about Native
American heritage through food and through food culture. EMERY REAL BIRD: One
of our main events was the Night of Native Foods. And basically it was a
time to highlight food that originated from the Americas. So you’re thinking of
corn, beans, tomatoes. And we also look to
Native suppliers. So there was actual wild
rice, not cultivated in the large fields. So there are recipes that are
derived from foods that people who are American Indian, but
of a certain tribal group, that is what they would eat. MAYEE CHEN: Asian
Pacific Heritage Month is a month long of
different events celebrating all
aspects of the culture, for Asian and Pacific Islanders. We have Whitman having
a Hawaiian theme, Wilson having a Chinese
theme, and Rocky having an Indian theme. Oftentimes it’s like we get our
plates of food, we sit down, and the food itself is a very
common ground for discussion. It’ll be like oh,
this is really good, and oh, I’ve never
tried this before. The different types
of cuisines definitely bring about a sense
of community in that. CHAD ROVNER: When I
started working here, I noticed that every
dining hall really didn’t have much to
offer in Indian food. And I started seeing
the clientele really started to change. And there was a lot of
students from India. And a lot of them
would talk to me and were a little
homesick for the food. They would send me
emails with dishes they wanted me to start making. I would look into it, I would
start practicing making it. I really want them to have
the experience of what Indian food really would be. BINITA GUPTA: I feel the food
is really authentic, especially when they do vegetables. Like the lentil curry,
for example today, was something that my
mom could have made. Honestly if you gave me my
mom’s dish and this dish, I might not have been able
to tell the difference. Anytime there’s Indian food,
I’ll take a picture and text it to them and be like look, this
is what I’m having for today. And it makes them really
happy, because sometimes they worry about me
being here and not adjusting or being uncomfortable
with the food choices. But whenever
there’s Indian food, they know that I feel at home
and I feel really welcome here. And I like learning
about other cultures too. And I really hope
that other people learn about Indian culture
through the dining hall food too. SMITHA HANEEF: I am
an immigrant myself. I’m a naturalized citizen. I’ve lived in Boston,
Birmingham, Alabama, Mountain View, California. And living in these places has
taught me some really powerful lessons. Being a chef myself, I have
learned American culture through the cuisines. RICK PIANCONE: I grew up in
a little Italian specialty shop and bakery that my parents
had in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, making
mozzarella as a child, learning how to bake bread. Last year we met with
the Italian table, and we asked them
if they would like to see a demonstration
of fresh mozzarella being made in the evening. So we had about 10
students in the kitchen. And we got a real wow out of it. We say, hey, this is something
we can add to the menu. We try to hear their
home type foods, what’s really close to their heart. And it’s so good to
hear areas of food that I’m not familiar with of
other regions, other countries. All the chefs here
in the operation are really trying to learn
these different ethnic dishes. We’re never going to make it
100% like Mom or Grandma did, but we try to get it
as close as possible. MICHAEL GATTIS: When we prepare
food, we share a piece of us with the person who’s eating it. And that’s where the
passion comes from. When a student gets to do
that from what they brought from home to share with their
fellows, a piece of them and their heritage, that’s
the community that we’re trying to build here
at Princeton and just captures everything
we’re all about.

One thought on “Sharing new tastes through cultural heritage dining

  1. I'm so very miss out for a my college food.so i hope again to visit this time.
    Princeton university food is ever to good!thank you.Democratic diplomacy professor!!thanks
    I'll never forget beautiful College food.love and respect

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