Campus Dining Services, which now supplies all aspects of all food at all residential dining halls, nine cafes and Frist Campus Center, has rolled out a service, Princeton Culinary Lab, to bring its own chefs into classes. The current project is part of the Food and Agriculture Initiative, a project of Smitha Haneef, who directs food services, and Professor Dan Rubenstein, EEB, along with Prof David Wilcove, EEB & WWS and Shana Weber, Sustainability. The service builds on decades-long work of her predecessor, Stu Orefice, who introduced forward-thinking sustainability and local procurement efforts, as well as chefs-to-classes, chefs-to-students efforts and community connections. It also borrows aspects of PSF’s Science, Society & Dinner course with Master Chef Craig Shelton, a James Beard award winner and graduate of Yale in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. The new service was demonstrated in Prof Rubenstein’s ENV 303, Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment, in Spring 2018; in NES 390: Medieval Cairo, a Survival Guide; and in Col(LAB) 1.0 with Prof Anne Cheng, American Studies, an experimental, three-day, mini-module to prototype exploration of the entangled issues of health, class, culture, innovation, and ecology. Campus Dining Services says there will be 14 such rollouts in the future. Spring and subsequent iterations follow an earlier effort of Haneef with Prof Cheng for her course, Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet, in spring 2015. In that course, teams of students created dishes that illustrated some aspect of how food interacts with racial identity. Teams were paired with PU chefs who advised them on food ingredients, preparation and presentation. More info here: https://dining.princeton.edu/news/culinary-labs-bring-hands-learning-courses
Congratulations to PSF’s own Professor Dan Rubenstein, and to Smitha Haneef of Dining Services, on the one-year anniversary of their Food and Agriculture Initiative. It builds on and leverages a dozen years of PU work examining the science of the plate, celebrating the community of the table, and studying relevant complex systems. The initiative intends to explore “global food and agriculture as a subject of critical inquiry and applied knowledge.” Others involved include Professor David Wilcove of EEB and Public Affairs, and Shana Weber, Sustainability director. See more here: https://princetonstudiesfood.princeton.edu/about-us/princeton-studies-food-timeline/
By ROZALIE CZESANA ‘18
Last Friday, alongside the excitement of the second year of the Tiger Chef Challenge student cooking contest (congratulations to Butler College!), Dillon Gym was also transformed to a bustling food expo, with a steady stream of students stopping to sample foods at booths of Campus Dining vendors and taking time to test their sustainability knowledge in exchange for prizes.
One highlight was tuna ceviche, crafted on the spot by the rep from Mission Foods, which supplies dining halls with a variety of Mexican-themed foods and ingredients.
Alissa Westrvelt of the Brooklyn-based Sea to Table, a seafood distributor that connects small-scale fisheries with clients, displayed Acadian Redfish and Spiny Dogfish, two fish species that Princeton students can taste across the dining halls.
Melissa Mirota, the registered dietitian at PU, presented a National Nutrition Month Scavenger Hunt, in which the Tiger Challenge visitors were invited to explore the nutritional benefits of several foods at the expo: red lentils and quinoa from RC Fine Foods, coffee from Princeton-based Small World and yogurts from Chobani, among others. Participants received a fruit-infuser water bottle. Mirota also supplied a 30 Day Whole Food Challenge poster, which listed a recipe for every day in March. She said she was inspired by Mark Bittman, former food writer at The New York Times who said, ”It’s not the beta-carotene, it’s the carrot. The evidence is very clear that plants promote health.”
At the Greening Dining table hosted by Sarah Bavuso, sustainability manager for Campus Dining, students, faculty, and other visitors picked up a full backpack to feel the weight of the amount of food wasted by an average student during one month: 22.8 pounds. Visitors also learned how much water it takes to produce one burger, in which the vast majority of water consumption comes from the meat patty. Visitors also could take a survey regarding their opinions about food waste and sustainability and hear more about transparency in ingredient procurement. (Greening Dining is a student group that works with Campus Dining to make Princeton dining as sustainable as possible.)
Thanks to Rozalie Czesana ’18 and to Campus Dining Services, customers at Frist’s Cafe Vivian may soon be treated to tastes of intensely local basil, kale, peas, broccoli and radish microgreens.
Czesana, with Sarah Salati Bavuso of CDS, planted seeds in the Urban Cultivator, a hydroponic garden system about the size of a wardrobe, in hopes of growing the leafy greens, but also to encourage conversation on sustainable food systems.
“Small-scale indoor agriculture has the potential to contribute to feeding entire communities when implemented on larger scale,” says Czesana, citing AeroFarms as an example.
Real World Princeton, a part of the Undergraduate Student Government organization, is pairing with the Cooking Club, Murray-Dodge Cafe and Dining Services to offer workshops for undergraduates who are beginner cooks. Subjects include how to pick groceries, safely prepare food, and construct a meal on a budget.
The workshops will be taught by Nicholas Wu ’18 at the Fields Center Kitchen and are organized by Cailin Hong, USG representative and Paul Yang ’17, Cooking Club president.
On Sunday, participants made asparagus and pasta. On Wednesday, April 20, Wu will teach participants how to make lentil soup and salmon. Class is from 4:30-6pm. Space is limited to 12 participants per session; sign up here. For more information, write Cailin Hong, email@example.com.
With “Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet,” in the spring 2015 semester, Professor Anne Cheng ’85 encouraged her 133 students to research the relationship between food and America’s racial dynamic across society, culture and history, but the students’ final projects weren’t limited to research papers. They also included a food lesson and a tasting.
As Jamie Saxon from the Office of Communications writes:
“Assignments included writing analytical essays, experimenting with food writing, and conducting research into the history of food, which, noted Cheng, is often a history of imperialism and colonization. For their final project, students went food shopping, rolled up their sleeves and created dishes that illustrated some aspect of how food interacts with racial identity.
Divided into 30 small teams, the students discussed readings and shared their own experiences with culture and food. As part of a new Campus Dining initiative led by Executive Director Smitha Haneef to support students’ academic experience, each team was paired with a chef who advised them on food ingredients, preparation and presentation. The dishes were presented and tasted at the “Princeton Feast” held April 30 in the Frist Campus Center.”
Roberta Isleib ’75, Author, alias Lucy Burdette, will join Jill Baron ’80, Integrative and Functional Medicine Physician; Beth Quatrano Diamond ’85, Founder, Cooking for a Change; Lydia Itoi ’90, Food and Travel Journalist; Kerry Saretsky ’05, Corporate Strategy Director-Global, HarperCollins Publishers, and Blogger at FrenchRevolutionFood.com; Katie Seaver ’10, Intuitive Eating Coach for a forum, “Food Obsessed in America?” on Saturday, May 30, from 10:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. at Frist 302. Smitha Haneef, Executive Director, Campus Dining, is scheduled to moderate.