By Jonah Svihus /// Senior Staff Writer
Food, performance and celebration marked the 51st International Fair was hosted by the International Students of Lewis & Clark (ISLC) and the International Students and Scholars (ISS) and occurred on March 5.
The fair started promptly in the morning with an international brunch featuring a variety of foods and table displays from different global regions in Fields dining hall and Stamm dining room.
“I have not been disappointed with anything that I have eaten so far,” Nate Dolin ’18 said. “Southeast Asia’s food was phenomenal, and the Japanese food was good also.”
Popular food stations included South Korea’s beef bulgogi, Africa’s injera bread, and Southeast Asia’s lumpia shanghai.
“[Working during the International Fair] was a lot of fun I guess,” Dan Sprauer, Director of Operations for Bon Appetit, said. “It’s fun to do this every year and we look forward to doing it.”
The International Fair is a unique event. Bon Appetit, LC’s food service provider, lets students design menus and utilize the kitchen space. The chefs at Bon Appetit also help the students in achieving their culinary goals.
“It was really fun cooking today,” Christian Salama, sous chef for Bon Appetit said. “Working with all of the students and cooking their national dishes was fun. It gets a little chaotic working with both students and the chefs. It’s just too many bodies in the kitchen. It’s organized chaos.”
The options offered at both Fields dining hall and Stamm dining room included food from the following global regions or countries: South Korea, China, South America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Japan and the Middle East.
“I really enjoy the diversity going on and how students represent their country,” Hamdan Alameri ’18, the International Fair’s co-region chair of the Middle East said. “I like seeing different cultures.”
Bridget Flaherty, Associate Director of ISS, was excited and pleased about the success of this year’s International Fair.
“The planning for the fair starts in the fall semester, which is when they start looking for the student leaders,” Flaherty said. “I help in advising the ISLC board, and they are the ones who really oversee the whole fair. For the last 2 months, they’ve been meeting on a weekly basis, they’ve been planning the menus with Bon Appetit, and they’ve put together performances for the show.”
Flaherty stressed the intense amount of work students put into the fair. “This week, almost every night has been a rehearsal or a cooking night where the students are preparing food. So many hours go into this, but it is so great when you see it all finally come together.”
Flaherty also discussed some of the challenges in coordinating the International Fair. “Sometimes people are freaking out because they don’t have the right ingredient or things go wrong along the way, but it’s so nice that everyone is here and enjoying themselves. [The biggest challenge] is figuring out all the different parts and putting them together. There’s the display tables, the food, and the performances, which includes fashion shows. The challenge is coordinating everyone and pulling everything together to become cohesive.”
After the morning portion of the International Fair, participants and coordinators set up in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel for the performance program.
The program opened with a performance by one of the LC jazz combo groups, which transitioned into the international culture performances. These included performances by students from South Africa, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Eastern Europe, Latin America, South Korea, Japan, China, South East Asia and South Asia.
The Middle East was slated to perform, but opted out from performing.
“I think the idea of bringing all people together and the idea of unity grabs my attention,” Alameri said of the Fair’s success. “I also like presenting my country to an audience who might not know us. I want to represent [the Middle East] truly, because people just know us through the media, and the media sometimes misrepresents us. So we are here to say who we are and this is our culture.”