Different Foods, Different Faiths, One Community kicks off a new food and cultural program at Xavier

Xavier Dining Services expects to present five different ethnic food experiences by local restaurateurs next year | May 7, 2009

Xavier Dining Services kicked off Different Foods, Different Faiths, One Community in April with Lebanese food prepared by Andy's Mediterranean Grille. The event was the first in a program that will bring a variety of ethnic restaurants to campus next year to present cultural dishes for students to sample.

On April 29, students enjoyed Mediterranean dishes prepared by Andy Hajjar, owner of Andy’s, and Xavier Dining Services executive chef Rachel Abrams in the Hoff Dining Center. While the students indulged in the different foods, they also enjoyed entertainment by a traditional belly dancer.

                     • Watch a video about Andy's and the ethnic food and culture program.

The purpose of the event is to introduce the Xavier community to different cultures, backgrounds and foods to show that no matter where people come from, they are not that different from each other. The program is a collaboration of Xavier Dining Services, which is run by Chartwells, the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement and Auxiliary Services.

“We are bridging this gap by having local, ethnic, family-owned restaurants come to Xavier and showcase featured dishes that they are known for,” said Walt Silka, senior director of Xavier Dining. “Our chefs are honored at the opportunity to learn from these diverse and extraordinary restaurateurs regarding their techniques and culture. It's amazing how the forms of communication begin to open over a common bond—food.”

Tom Barlow, director for Auxiliary Services, and Rabbi Abie Ingber, of the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, are talking with other family-run restaurant owners in Cincinnati about participating in the program. They expect to have commitments for at least five presentations next school year.

“This new interfaith community-based program, is the first of its kind and exemplifies Xavier’s tradition of community interest and involvement,” Barlow said. “Through food as a point of togetherness, we will all learn the strength and qualities these family-run restaurants have, which will help all members of our community to learn about the rich family culture and traditions they possess.”