Taste Your Home Meal at the Cafeteria

Emi Tsuji, Staff Reporter

Lakeland’s cafeteria is adapting the new menu with the help of students’ recommendations of their favorite recipes.   

For fall 2020, students can suggest new meals to the cafeteria by submitting recipes through an online form on Lakeland Today or going to the cafeteria and having a conversation with Mark Wagner, director of dining services, or Joseph Johnson, executive chef and assistant director of dining services 

Once students submit their recipe, the dining service team will take care of preparing all ingredients and apply the recipe to produce meals for a large number of students in Lakeland.  

Wagner explained how the process goes when they receive recipe submissions. “When students submit a recipe to us, we’re going to make sure that it gets on the menu. We will pay for all the food involved. Give us a recipe, we’ll buy it all. Then, we will just set it up with the students. They can come into the kitchen at a specific time and we will cook it together.” 

Wagner maintained the main purpose of this project is “I just wanted to make sure that international students and any students get a chance to introduce some of their food, not only for them to consume, but I want that food to be a source of entertainment for other students to eat as well.” 

Yu Asano, an international student from Japan, said that she likes the current cafeteria’s  American meals a lot, but it would be a great opportunity to try international food from other international students.  

“I think Lakeland has many international students from different countries. If our cafeteria could provide meals from their countries, it would bring a special feeling for both international students and students from the U.S. I feel that it will be like an additional pleasure to have different food from other countries,” Asano said. 

Also, providing food from a student’s recipe will get take away students’ homesickness and share some of the at-home feelings with friends.  

Bora Ajdini, an international student from Albania, described the cafeteria’s project as a heartwarming way of bringing people closer to their home. “I think the concept is really sweet because maybe students submitted recipes that they had from home. Maybe, it’s important for the cooks to make that food because it will make them feel less homesick, especially if they’re freshmen and they can’t even leave campus now because of COVID, so they have to wait until November,” Ajdini stated.  

Submitting recipes to the cafeteria is also beneficial for students who have allergies or intolerance to certain foods.  

Samantha Olsen, a junior student who has lactose intolerance, pointed out that this project will provide more food options for her. “I would say it would be nice to have more vegan meals at the cafeteria so that I can eat since I can’t have any dairy… It would be nice to have explanations of what’s in it and what it is,” Olsen mentioned.  

To submit the recipe, go to Lakeland Today’s announcement page on the cafeteria’s project (today.lakeland.edu/news-and-notes/2830-students-we-need-your-favorite-recipes) or visit the cafeteria and talk to Wagner or Johnson. “Joe and I are usually here. Please stop in and ask for Joe or Mark. We can sit down and talk about the recipe,” Wagner stated.