Imagine ginger, garlic, scallions, and the pungent aroma of Szechuan peppers frying and the playful banter in Chinese coming from the kitchen. These are the smells and sound of the beginning of Bon Appetit at Beloit College’s Guest Chef program.
The program was born out of a relationship with the Office of International Education and its Assistant Director and International Student Advisor Josie Inaldo (above, with Peter Kraemer and Michael Downey) and our campus’ international students, who had a desire for more “authentic” international cuisine. With a packet of recipes for our first two weeks and a trip to the Asian market we were ready to begin.
First up was Li Wan’14 from China and her team who prepped on Sunday and cooked and served their meal on our Comfort station on Monday. Their menu was Mapo beef tofu, double-cooked pork, potato and pepper stir fry, egg fried rice, and a garlic cucumber salad. Word had gotten out, and the line for dinner began forming early. Throughout dinner service there was a steady stream of students stopping by and sampling all of the dishes, many of them returning for seconds.
Next up we featured guest baker Hana Vackova’15, who treated us to traditional Czechoslovakian pastries: poppy seed bread, butter cake, and apple strudel. Round two of authentic Chinese food found our group of hard-working students being led by Nan Feng’17. Once again the line began forming early and continued through service. Her team treated us to danpanji, a spicy chicken and potato dish, hongshao yutou, pork, and taro braised in soy, and my favorite, fried green peppers and pork with seasoned spinach.
Great food and cultural discussions are “what’s for dinner” as we continue with our guest chef program. As we move forward we have interest from other international students and clubs on campus, and currently being scheduled is a Romanian dinner, a Mexican/Latin inspired dinner from the Voces Latinas club, and a meal from our Bangladeshi student. Stay tuned!