International students bring old-world cooking to Eastway

Katie Moore

Turkey took first prize Wednesday night with the native dish karniyarik, or eggplants stuffed with ground beef, at the International Cook-off in Eastway Complex.

Seven teams, each containing between two and six students, represented six countries with indigenous dishes to show off their individual culinary flavors.

Jessica Cohen, marketing coordinator of the Office of International Affairs, put the whole event together.

“The reason why we started it was so international students could get to know the domestic students,” Cohen said. “And what better way then over food? There are a lot of cultures and countries represented at Kent.”

This is the second time the Office of International Affairs has hosted the event with the help of Dining Services.

“The cook-off started this past spring,” Cohen said. “It was called ‘Beans, Rice and Spice’ with around 500 students in attendance, and since it’s International Education Week we thought it would be a good tie-in.”

Teams showed up as early as 3:30 p.m. to start prepping their dishes. Judging started around 5:30 p.m. The teams started running out of food around 6 p.m., even though they were supposed to make enough for 200 people.

Maryanne Saunders, executive director of the Office of International Affairs, was very grateful for the help from Dining Services.

“Dining Services got a copy of all the recipes from each team and went out to buy the ingredients so the students wouldn’t have to pay for the food out-of-pocket,” Saunders said.

The awards of the evening had two groups of judges critiquing the flavors. University officials Greg Jarvie, Alfreda Brown and Stan Wearden made up the panel of judges that would eventually vote on which teams should get first, second and third. The 200 students plus that attended voted for a people’s choice award using tickets received from the International Affairs table.

George Curtis, freshman pre-finance major, attended the event with his friend.

“I liked the shrimp tofu,” Curtis said, “because I like tofu.”

This was the first time Allison Schultz, freshman English major, had attended the event.

“I like to eat foreign food,” Schultz said. ”I think it’s a good opportunity for students to go outside their comfort zones and try different things. Students don’t like to go far, so when it’s right in the lobby and free, why not try it?”


1st Place: Turkey with karniyarik (eggplants stuffed with ground beef)

2nd Place: India with chhole (chickpea curry) with cumin rice and nan

3rd Place: China with shrimp and tofu

People’s Choice: China with stir-fried shredded pork with potato

Contact Katie Moore at [email protected].