Kent Union, Kent Hospitality and Kent students came together recently to host the Cultural Food Festival; the first event of its kind at the University.
The event, held in Rutherford Dining Hall on Wednesday 20 March, was part-funded by the International Partnership Fund and sponsored by the Kent Opportunity Fund and Kent Hospitality.
As one of the many events organised as part of the busy Worldfest 2019 programme, the festival highlighted the diversity of the University, promoted global and cultural awareness and gave cultural societies the opportunity to share their culture through cooking and serving food to students and staff.
Sasha Langeveldt, Vice President (Activities), started planning the event in conjunction with Kent Hospitality in October 2018. When elected, her aim was to create a sense of community for our students, while celebrating different culture and creating social change. Sasha wanted to organise the Cultural Food Festival in response to a demand from cultural societies who had expressed their desire to share their culture through food. Students and staff were welcomed to the festival to celebrate the night not only with food, but also with tradition, native dress and live performances.
Sixteen cultural societies cooked 29 different dishes with help and guidance from Kent Hospitality’s chefs, overseen by the University’s Chef de Cuisines, Ben Elsbury and Rob Grimer, in Darwin and Rutherford College kitchens. In total, students created 940 dishes to serve to hungry customers, and dishes ranged from muhalabiya to souvlaki, butter chicken, stuffed vine leaves, mapo tofu and many, many more. Kent Hospitality enjoyed the challenge of sourcing authentic ingredients to ensure the dishes created were a true representation of the students’ culture. Geoff Wilcox, Food and Beverage Manager of Rutherford Dining Hall, was heavily involved throughout the planning of the event, and was on hand throughout the day to check the societies had everything they needed to make the festival a success.
The success of the Cultural Food Festival can be credited to the partnership between the University’s students, Kent Union and Kent Hospitality. Working together to organise, promote and run the event proved to be an invaluable experience for all.