Throughout November, Boston College Dining will feature selections of foods from around the globe through its Global Flavors Program.
“Our goal was to use food to showcase different cultures on campus,” Elizabeth Emery, director of BC Dining, said in an email to The Heights.
The Global Flavors Program is an initiative initially launched in 2020, and it has continued to take place every November in recognition of International Education Week. The global food selections will be available almost every day for either lunch or dinner at McElroy, the Rat, and Stuart dining halls.
The program collaborates with student cultural organizations to bring new recipes to the dining halls around campus, according to Emery. Emery said an initial meeting and brainstorming session is hosted with the culture clubs.
“The culinary team will … host a menu tasting with club members to get feedback and make possible changes in order to make the dish as authentic as possible,” Emery said. “Together with the cultural group, we will host a pop-up event showcasing the special menu, decorations, music, and tabling.”
Emery explained that if the pop-up is well received by the student body, BC Dining is open to making these meals permanent fixtures on the menu.
“We wanted to partner with student cultural organizations so that they could provide input in choosing the menu items, tasting them and promoting on campus,” Emery said.
This endeavor goes beyond changing the menu, or even offering new food, Emery said. According to Emery, the best part of the Global Flavors Program is the student involvement.
“It is so rewarding to partner with students to develop more authentic recipes representing their heritage,” Emery said. “It is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the importance of these dishes and the stories about the celebrations with family and friends when these dishes were served.”
Not only does the global calendar allow students to collaborate with BC Dining and try new flavors from all across the world, but it also benefits the dining program as a whole, Executive Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz explained.
“This was very exciting for the staff and the students to work together to showcase their interpretations of their heritages of recipes handed down generationally,” Kaplowitz said.
One of the program’s latest ventures was the katsu bowl, which was featured across campus through a collaboration with Japan Club of BC. Students picked from a variety of toppings and protein sources, such as chicken or tofu. After trying the katsu bowl, Sophia Sabatino, MCAS ’27, said the meal was a welcome addition to the BC menu.
“Honestly, I really love it because I’m a vegetarian,” Sabatino said. “The meals that are through the Global Flavors program are some of the best, most balanced vegetarian meals. They’re also so good for you. So my main takeaway from the program is that it has options for me with protein.”
Sabatino praised the program for how it both accommodates students’ needs while still exposing them to new cultures and flavors from around the world.
“I think it’s a good way for students to try new things in a way that is affordable and healthy,” Sabatino said. “And it’s nice exposure for cultural food, which is always great.”