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Dining team at University of South Florida highlights global flavors

USF’s Tastes Around the World program showcases a new ingredient or cooking style weekly.
A spread of tacos.
The dining team has spotlighted techniques such as searing tortillas on a flat top with smoky paprika oil. / Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The University of South Florida’s (USF) dining services is featuring a Tastes Around the World program with the goal of introducing diners to a new ingredient or cooking style every week.

One featured ingredient was gochujang, a red chili paste popular in Korean cooking. The dining team has also spotlighted techniques such as searing tortillas on a flat top with smoky paprika oil.

“This program allows our chefs to be innovative and diners can taste and learn about something they don’t normally eat,” said Jessica Cicalese, marketing director for dining services, in a statement on USF's website. “Our registered dietitians can also educate them about the health and wellness aspect.”

After the program was initially piloted, USF invited campus diners from different countries to give feedback on the recipes. The chefs have since tweaked the food to be more authentic. According to Cicalese, the program is popular among students.  

Dining services also plans to feature global flavors at the school’s annual Juniper Nation Celebration. The event will feature food and music from 11 countries chosen by students. Attendees will be encouraged to complete a food passport by trying a dish from each country.

“Food has been bringing people together since the time of the caveman,” said David DiSalvo, district manager for USF dining services, in a statement. “When we get to share experiences, broaden our palate or broaden our perspective through food, it creates authentic and meaningful connections between people.”

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