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) lvc.edu 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 (www.menusofchange.org) 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

FYS: Food and Philosophy Students visit Metz, Put Theory into Practice

On October 9, 2014, the 15 students enrolled in the First Year Seminar: Food and Philosophy took a short trip over to the dining hall to learn about Metz’s dedication to fresh food prepared daily on-site.  About 90% of Metz’s food is made from scratch in the kitchen by its dedicated staff.  Pizza is a great example of this commitment to fresh food.  Metz staff members make pizza dough from scratch twice daily to meet the high demand for pizza pies and other specialties that students crave.  The pizzas are baked fresh in the pizza oven located in the food presentation area, staffed by one of the several hard-working pizzaioli/e.

Students were taught the process, fashioned dough balls from out of the nearly 70lb ball of dough mixed in the industrial mixer, and even learned how to form and toss the dough.  Of course, they also baked and enjoyed the fruits of the study!

This visit to the dining hall is just of of several visits the students make during the semester to learn about food preparation, food sourcing, and the aesthetic enjoyment of a variety of tastes and textures that Metz makes available to its clientsIMG_0623IMG_0617IMG_0620.

EAT Students Present at Annual Food Studies Conference

The EAT Research Group traveled to Burlington, Vermont on June 20 to present at the conference “Collaboration and Innovation Across the Food System” – the joint annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS). Ashley Smith ’15 and Anthony Feudale ’14 had poster presentations accepted to the conference.  Ashley’s project “Experience More, Waste Less” tracked food waste in the LVC dining hall, while Tony’s project “Food Attitudes” tracked student attitudes toward the initiatives put in place by Metz to aid in the reduction of food waste.

IMG_1593

The EAT group also conducted a roundtable discussion about the year’s initiatives.  This panel included Ashley Ferrari ’14 and Ashley Smith ’14, along with Robert Valgenti (EAT faculty director) and Bill Allman (General Manager for Metz Culianary Management).

IMG_1594

E.A.T. visits NYU

image image

On Friday, November 15th members of the E.A.T. team took a day visit to New York University and it was a full day:

We departed from LVC around 8 am and arrived in New York around 11 am. After a quick coffee pick-me-up, we attended a session of NYU’s “Feast/Famine Colloquium” in which culinary students provided lunch while Dr. Simone Cinotto, visiting scholar in food studies – http://www.unisg.it/en/docenti/ricercatore-storia-contemporanea/ - presented work from his book The Italian American Table. The lecture concluded with a participatory discussion by those in attendance and we were then given a mini-tour of the learning kitchen.

Next, Dr. Jenny Berg -http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/nutrition/faculty_bios/view/Jennifer_Berg gave us a tour of NYU’s Urban Farm. Recently created in June of this year, Jenny gave us the lowdown on how the urban farm came to be, obstacles to its establishment, and plans for its future.

We then had the privilege to sit in on a graduate-level class taught by Dr. Krishnendu Ray – http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/faculty_bios/view/Krishnendu_Ray entitled Contemporary Issues in Food Studies. The lecture and ensuing discussion centered around global malnutrition and its implications.

Our day ended with dinner at Numero 28 Pizzeria and gelato from A.B. Biagi.

Many thanks to the NYU Food Studies faculty and graduate students for their hospitality and continued support of our project!