The T.A.S.T.E. Lab: Changing LVC Dining One Bite At a Time!

TASTE LAB LOGORyan Goernemann ’16 is the primary student researcher for the 2015-16 T.A.S.T.E. Lab. This year he has placed an emphasis on healthier eating options for students.  The first series of labs will focus on the creation of a healthier and more environmentally sustainable hamburger for the campus using a technique known as the “protein flip.”  This idea, developed by the Menus of Change group at Harvard and the Culinary Institute of America, changes existing recipes and proportions to reflect a healthier balance of component nutrients for the body and the planet.

Here are the results from the first 4 T.A.S.T.E Labs this year:

Taste Lab #1: Traditional LVC Beef Burger vs. a Hybrid Garbanzo Bean Burger
Squash Burger Results 1110 Image

Taste Lab #2: Traditional LVC Beef Burger vs. a Hybrid Squash Burger

Squash Burger Results 1110 Image

Taste Lab #3: Traditional LVC Beef Burger vs. a Hybrid Mushroom Burger

Mushroom burger resluts Image

Taste Lab #4: Whipped Tofu Lasagna vs. Cottage Cheese Lasagna

Lab 3-1 Info Graphic

E.A.T. Students Present at Inquiry 2015


Inquiry Group Photo 2015 smallOn April 16, the E.A.T. Research Group showcased its ongoing research at the Inquiry 2015 event.  The research group had 4 posters: 3 featuring year-long projects, and 1 highlighting 4 new projects initiated this semester.  The posters presented at the event can be accessed here:

1. “The Whole Grain and Nothing But the Grain” by Devon McKain ’15 and Kayla McKain ’15

2. “Tasting a Marketing Plan” by Andrew Deihl ’16

3. “Economies of Scale” by Kathryn O’Hara ’15

4. New projects: “Sustainable Campus Agriculture” by Victoria Gluszko ’16, “Study Abroad at the Table” by Terese Sweitzer ’16, “Food for Thought” Film Series by Raeann La Flame ’16, and “Improving Student-Athlete Nutrition” by Sarah DiMaggio ’17.

Get your Freekeh!

On April 1st, the fourth iteration of the the Taste Lab featured a whole grain dish: Freekeh Tabouli prepared by Chef John Hopewell.  The featured food marks a collaboration of two E.A.T. projects: The Taste Lab project run by junior Andrew Deihl, and the whole grains Food of the Week program run by seniors Devon and Kayla McCTASTE LAB LOGOain.  The lab was also observed by Dr. Jacob Lahne, a sensory scientist from Drexel University who has served as an outside mentor to Andrew Deihl throughout the academic year.

56 visitors tasted the dish, and the responses were enthusiastic, with 35 (62.5%) of the tasters giving the dish a score of 7 or higher on a 9 point hedonic scale.  This bodes well for the inclusion of this dish and similar healthy options in the dining hall.

There will be one more Taste Lab this semester on April 22–go to the UG from 11-1 to try it out!



Study Abroad at the Table–Northern Italy

March 26 marked the first day of the EAT Research Group’s newest project: Study Abroad at the Table.  The project, directed by junior Terese Sweitzer, aims to introduce students to new culinary horizons through a dinner experience that is as informative as it is delicious.

Terese, who studied abroad last year in Perugia, Italy, chose northern Italian cuisine as the theme of the dinner.  The menu for the five course, nine dish meal was designed by Terese and brought to life by Chef John Hopewell and the Metz Culinary Management team.  As the meal was served, Terese explained the significance, origins and history of the food and the practices that are typical of an Italian dining experience.  29 students signed up for the event, which Metz included as part of those students’ normal meal plan.

In addition to the meal, students were required to take part in a pre- and post-survey directed at the ways that students relate and react to unfamiliar cuisines.  This meal is thus the first of many meals that will follow in 2015-16.  The goal of the project is to have students familiar with global cuisines host similar dinners so that students can use food to broaden their cultural and culinary horizons.

The EAT Research Group extends is thanks to Metz Culinary Management, whose staff and support have made this (and many other) projects possible!

American Whiskey Tasting!

Metz Culinary Management and the EAT Research Group invite the entire campus community to a guided tasting of American whiskeys with Dr. Sierra Clark.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 19 at 7pm in the Lehr Dining Room area of the Mund Student Center.  Dr. Clark will lead up to 30 participants though a guided tasting of ten American whiskeys and provide a brief lecture on their history, taste and judgment.

If you would like to participate in the tasting, RSVP via email with your name and campus affiliation to valgenti (at) by March 15.  If there are more than 30 responses, a lottery will be held to determine the 30 tasters.  All tasters must be 21 years of age.

Dr. Clark’s lecture and presentation will be open to all those who wish to attend.

Whiskey Tasting Flyer

Director of EAT named to Menus of Change Research Collaborative

Dr. Robert Valgenti, Associate Professor of Philosophy and director of the EAT Research Group, has been invited to take part in the Menus of Change Research Collaborative (MCRC), a working group of scholars and food experts whose goal is to engage universities in the advancement of healthier, more sustainable life-long food choices among students.  The MCRC is an outgrowth of the Menus of Change ( initiative launched in 2012 by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Valgenti’s invitation to the Research Collaborative is recognition for the E.A.T. (Engage, Analyze, Transform) Research Group he founded in 2013.  This undergraduate research group has two goals: to improve the dining experience for students, and to dissolve the boundaries between the dining and academic spaces on campus.  Specifically, E.A.T. uses data-driven research to promote and assess the goals of ethical reasoning, intercultural competence, healthful living, and environmental sustainability. E.A.T. is comprised of a group of undergraduate student researchers, a faculty advisor, and the director of Metz Culinary Management.

The cooperation between EAT and Metz Culinary Management is in many ways the sort of academic/professional collaboration the MCRC wants to inspire and institute across the country and its college campuses.  In particular, the research project conducted by Ashley Smith ’15 (Experience More, Waste Less) was cited by the MCRC as an example of a successful sustainability initiative that transformed students’ eating behaviors and practices.

EAT Group and Metz travel to Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters

On October 15, the EAT Research Group and members of Metz’s management staff traveled to West Chester, PA to meet with John Sacharok, one of the principal’s of Golden Valley Farms coffee roasters.  The visit was made to gather information about Golden Valley’s unique coffee products, and to learn about the Artisan Exchange–a small business collaboration that helps small, local and organic food producers develop, produce and market their products.  The group learned a great deal about GVF’s coffee production and roasting.  The coffee is triple certified (fair trade, organic, and shade grown) and currently expanding its market onto college campuses.  IMG_1693 IMG_1698 IMG_1700