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Worldwide food brings international flavor to Ohio State

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Food from around the world will descend on the Ohio Union Friday.
Taste of OSU will take place from 5-9 p.m Friday and is expected to provide ethnic dishes from about 30 different international student groups with about 15 cultural performances, said Maureen Miller, spokeswoman for the Office of International Affairs.
Each ethnic group will have a booth with its cultural decorations and will sell samples of international dishes for $1, which can be purchased with cash or BuckID.
“It’s just really cool,” said Shelby Bradford, a third-year in English and communication and a two-time volunteer for the event. “It’s one of the more unique experiences that Ohio State has in my opinion because there’s food from all over the world.”
With more than 22,000 food tickets sold last year, the signature event drew more than 4,000 people and was held throughout the Union. Miller expects a large crowd again this year.
While the crowds will likely remain large, the number of food choices people have to choose from is expected to decrease from an average of about four to about three, said Roger Garland, executive chef for the event.
Garland said soups and drinks will not be provided at this year’s event because of the transportation difficulty and the damage to containers that are mostly used for tea or coffee.
“We had groups that had poured curry soup in it (containers) and that curry gets into the flavor, so it’s very hard to get out and it’s challenging to serve,” Garland said.
The about 30 participating student groups went through an application process and training leading up to the event, Miller said.
The preparation and cooking process started Wednesday in six different university kitchens, including the instructional market and catering kitchens in the Ohio Union, Raney and Kennedy commons, Garland said. He also said there would be about eight to 10 OSU chefs overseeing the process.
“We tried to guide them through the best we can,” Garland said. “For example, if someone’s like, ‘I only want two pounds of meat’ for something for 800 portions, I know it’s not going to work.”
Tyler Tomaszewski, secretary of the Polish Club and a second-year in linguistics, said the group’s placki, which is similar to potato pancakes, was the most popular Polish dish last year and will be served again this year.
“We made 700 of them and they were gone within the first couple hours,” Tomaszewski said.
Taste of OSU has grown since it was started in 1997 when it was a potluck in Oxley Hall “where a group of international students thought it might be fun to cook food from their home country and invite some friends over,” Miller said. “From there, it has grown steadily over the years.”

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