During World Wide Enlightenment week, the University of Massachusetts Boston hosted an event celebrating the diversity of food. Even though our cafeteria offers pretty diverse food options, this event was different. Belgian chef Steve Passchyn from Sodexo came to campus.
Passchyn is a Belgium native who, prior to Oct. 11, had never been to the U.S. He said that in Belgium there is “a lot of food, and even more beer!” However, he has been enjoying the states so far. “Our week one was training at Keene State College. We did tasting and cooking there.”
After arriving in Boston on Oct. 16, Passchyn started cooking and working with the chefs from UMass Boston. They worked together in the kitchen, preparing recipes and simple dishes that, hopefully, the university chefs will continue to serve. Samples were offered outside of the cafeteria and then served in the actual cafeteria on Oct. 18. Chef Passchyn could not have been more excited about the food.
There were three dishes and two soups served in the cafeteria. The first dish was a traditional beer-infused beef stew, with fries and greens on the side. “The fries are served with mayonnaise. It's traditional in Belgium.” Passchyn said many people here like the combination, but some find it a bit weird. He referred to John Travolta in Pulp Fiction: “I dunno, I didn't go into a Burger King. But you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup? What? Mayonnaise. Goddamn!” (Pulp Fiction, 1994.)
The second dish was available as a vegetarian option. It was a spin on the meal called “hachie parmentier,” which translates to “farmer’s dish.” This was a vegetable dish with tofu.
The third and final dish served was cod fish with mashed potatoes, a butternut sauce, and lemon. “The most important part of the dish is the lemon because it really keeps the fish fresh,” Passchyn said.
UMass Boston also held a VIP event for members of the board so they could taste all of the food.
Passchyn enjoyed his time working with the chefs here. They had a lot of fun together, and he tasted a lot of great food. He enjoyed speaking with the students and was very enthusiastic about what he had made with his peers.
This was the first stop on Passchyn's journey around schools in the U.S. with Sodexo. He will be in the U.S. until Nov. 11, travelling with a white flag that he plans to have signed at each school he enlightens with his food creations. “At the end of my travels, I will bring this flag and hang it up above my desk in Belgium.”
You can see the chef's travels on Facebook at "Steve Passchyn Sodexo BE."