This year Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and Shark Dining plans to celebrate the hispanic culture through special menu options in the University Center and the Health Professionals Division dining areas.
During the Friday lunch hour of each week, there will be special dishes that will feature four different countries: Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. Each of these stations will feature the most popular dishes from each country. Some of the stations that will offer these dishes are Home Cooking, Create, Grill and 2mato.
According to Blas Baldepina, senior executive chef for Chartwells, “these dishes are based on the menu and set up to match each station. For instance, 2mato would fit best with the Chorpian Pizza.”
The planning and ideas that went into these special dishes and the menu was a collaborative process between the chefs and other staff members.
“I’m from the Dominican Republic, another chef is from Argentina and we have a cook from Ecuador. It was a collaboration where we came together and from experience, came up with the dishes for this menu,” said Baldepina.
These specials also work with student needs. For students with allergies or specific dietary restrictions, there are dishes that were integrated into the menu for that purpose so all students can enjoy the celebration.
With this event, Shark Dining hopes that students can experience some of these dishes that they would have never came across otherwise. They want students to experience the culture and food these countries have to offer and, in the future, maybe get the students involved.
“It is always great to get student organizations involved in [Chartwell events] to make it [more successful]. We are always open to student partnerships and collaborations,” said Katryna Vanande, senior director of dining.
The main festivities will take place at the UC but students in the HPD dining area will also experience these specials. But the amount of dishes may be less due to the limitations in the kitchen space and serving areas in this building.
In the past, Shark Dining was known to decorate the dining area for special events but for this event, dining plans to bring the dishes to the forefront.
“There will be special menu boards [displayed on the monitors] but that will be the extent of the decorations. I want the food to speak for itself,” said Vanande.
There will be normal service for the rest of the week during this time including stir-fry and regular American classics currently featured on the menu but students are encouraged to try these new options and learn about the culture and representation of these countries through the culinary options.
All students are welcome to attend these special lunch hours. The dining operations will remain the same in regards to pricing for the lunch hour and during the week. Students are encouraged to reach out to Shark Dining if they want to collaborate in the future on this event or any other Shark Dining event.