Dining caters to student dietary, religious needs
While the dining halls and markets on campus generate a lot of options for student eating, some students - either all the time, or during certain religious observations - are limited in what they can eat.
Though quite a few Jewish students at Miami are not strictly kosher, according to Dining Services' Executive Chef, Eric Yung, it is still important for dining services to accommodate needs for any dietary restrictions that students have and the Culinary Service Center (CSC) is trying to do just that.
Despite not having a kosher kitchen on campus, Dining Services strives to offer kosher products, be it at the marketplaces or by special request.
"A student who is requesting kosher options would identify himself with our office and we have someone here that works with him to lay out a list of all the items we have," Yung said. "From there, we ask if there are items that he doesn't see that we could get. It could be a favorite brand from home, something familiar that we can bring in."
According to both Yung and Jon Brubacher, manager of purchasing for Dining Services, the Jewish community is not the only group that CSC caters to. For the duration of Lent, the Dining Halls offer fish among the other customary dining hall choices.
Along with that, Dining Services takes requests from those with health-related dietary restrictions.
"If someone comes to meet with the office, we'll do anything possible to source food, make it available," Brubacher said. "Gluten intolerance and nut allergies are probably our biggest ones. As long as it falls within what we can do, we can pretty much meet any special diet request there is."
According to Yung, CSC also takes requests from international students. He said Jungle Jim's is a great source and can usually be used to get an international student whatever imported good he or she is missing from home.
Hillel, a Jewish organization works with Dining Services. According to Brubacher, Hillel has helped the CSC in offering kosher options.
"With each new generation of students, there are new flavor preferences, so Hillel helps to steer us in the right direction as far as 'hot products' with kosher food goes," Brubacher said. "In the past, we would randomly guess at what we should have."
Though most markets carry Kosher items at all times, the same cannot be said for the dining halls, according to sophomore Matthew Friedman, marketing coordinator at Hillel.
The Jewish community celebrates many holidays including Yom Kippur, a fasting holiday and Passover during which many restrictions are placed on diet and cooking ingredients.
"Unless you keep kosher all year round, the most important time to keep kosher is during Passover," Friedman said. "Rosh Hashanah doesn't really have strict rules to follow."
According to both Brubacher and Yung, the CSC welcomes any suggestions openly and will do anything within their power to help a student with his or her dietary restrictions.
Students can contact the CSC at 513-529-3040 for more information concerning dietary restrictions.
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