By: CARTER DEJONG
The International Food Festival was held on April 6 at the University Grille. The event featured 20 different countries from around the world. As soon as you entered the building you were met with smells from around the world as students walked around in the traditional dress of their home nations.
This year, about 250 students, faculty, and community members showed up for the festival. This is the twentieth year the event has been held at IU South Bend.
Some of the countries represented this year included the Czech Republic, Germany, France, China, Vietnam, India, Ghana, Malawi, Saudi Arabia and Ivory Coast.
The festival is organized by the International Student Union (ISO) and led by Caroline Bilsky. She is an International Student Services representative and also represented the the Czech Republic. This is the second year Bilsky has been in charge of organizing the event.
Rachel Kario, a freshman at IU South Bend, attended the event.
“It was really exciting because I was introduced to different cultures it was a great way to bring everyone together,” Kario said.
According to Bilsky, chicken and rice was one of the most popular dishes this year.
“It’s easy to make in a big pot and serve to a lot of people. When you’re looking at the set up the whole back row is just all these different variations of chicken and rice,” she said.
Another popular dish this year came from Ukraine. They cooked a type of crepe called a blini that came with either chicken and mushrooms or whipped cream and bananas.
In addition to food, entertainment was also a large part of the event. This year’s entertainment started with a PowerPoint presentation by Anthropology professor Madeline Chera. Next, two students one from the Congo and another from France sang in French to highlight the fact that it is a language that is spoken throughout the world. Other entertainment included dances from an Indian student and dances from African students.
Students begin cooking the food for the festival up to two days before the actual day of the event. “The students come in Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They divvy up the food and take what they need, they find a stop in the kitchen and they start cooking,” Bilsky said.
One student that took part in the festival was Sarah Davis. She is from the West African nation of Ghana and is a nursing student at IU South Bend. Davis cooked a Ghanaian dish called Jollof which is a type of rice. Davis also took part in a traditional African dance to entertain the festival goers.
“It was fun,” Davis said.
Financing for the event was provided by the Student Government Organization (SGA). Every year, the students of ISO appear in front of the SGA to request the funding they need to hold the event. Bilsky then compiles a list of all the ingredients needed for each dish. She submits that list to Sodexo, the company that handles all the food at IU South Bend. All of the money given from SGA and from ticket sales goes to Sodexo to pay for the raw ingredients.