Fresh Food adds more international options

Jessica Voorhees

The Fresh Food Company will increase their international food options this semester, as well as provide halal meals for students every Thursday. 

Steve Hoyng, resident district manager for the WKU Restaurant Group, said he hopes the options provide more students with a sense of belonging at the university. 

“We try to do it as authentic as possible,” he said. “It’s like a little touch of home.”

 Gary Meszaros, assistant vice president for business and auxiliary services, said Fresh Food Company introduced the halal meals last semester, after meeting with the International department and realizing the demand.

 Halal meals contain food that is prepared under Islamic guidelines, outlined in the Qu’ran. For example, pork isn’t allowed, and other meat must come from animals that were blessed in the name of Allah before being slaughtered. 

 Meszaros said the Muslim students who eat the halal food use paper plates and plastic utensils because the reusable dishes washed in the machine have been used to hold pork for other meals. 

 Shanda Blair, food services director, said the food is halal-certified and purchased at an extra cost.

 Hoyng said Fresh Food Company served an average of 150 to 200 portions of the halal meals, each Thursday.

 “It isn’t a whole lot,” he said. “We’re just trying to do what we think is right.”

The Fresh Food Company will continue to serve halal meals at the sauté station, this semester on Thursdays.

Meszaros said if students respond well to the food, he would consider dedicating one of the kitchens to preparing halal food all the time.

Hoyng encouraged all students to try the meals.

 “I feel it’s important that all students try it,” he said. “Food is a part of education.”

The Fresh Food Company will also dedicate various days throughout the semester to serving international food from a specific country.

Last semester they featured cuisine from Ecuador and Brazil.

Vedrana Forsythe, Fresh Food Company location manager, said she picks a few countries from the top five most populous international student groups and serves some of their traditional dishes.

Hoyng said the food allows international students to feel included on campus.

“We want to let the students know we appreciate them being here,” he said.

Forsythe said this semester, The Fresh Food Company will feature special dishes for Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year, as well as a South-Asian meal.

Hoyng said it will provide an opportunity for all students to experience diverse food and cultures.

“We’re trying to educate the students and if we’re going to be a true international college, we need to have these availabilities,” he said.