By Shuhrah Chowdhury
Photos by Shanee Halveni
Cooking with GDS is hosted by the new executive chef of Gourmet Dining Services (GDS), Chef Marc, and run by Casey Hennessey, co-chair of the Career Development Services (CDS) and Lucie Tchouassi, co-chair of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE). The purpose of the program is to introduce the audience to healthy and easy meals using few ingredients.
During the program, Chef Marc introduced the interested audience of primarily middle aged women to two salads. The chef gave commentary on how to prepare the greens properly as he peeled the stems off the kale and tossed the green into a giant bowl. Many took notes on paper or on their phones while he rattled off ratios of fat to vinegar for the dressing. After a few minutes, he presented the first salad: a kale salad with candied walnuts and Granny Smith apples dressed with a rich and tangy yogurt dressing. Everyone was pleased with the outcome of the taste and quality, considering the short amount of time it took to create the salad.
The second salad was an Italian salad made of leftover day old sourdough bread, heirloom tomatoes, and basil dressed in a light red wine vinaigrette. Chef Marc discussed how people should not limit themselves with the types of vinegars for dressings or cooking in general. By the end of the program, the audience was quite pleased with the final products.
Looking around the room filled with middle aged women and some NJIT staff members, it appeared to be that the program was catered more for faculty and staff. Unfortunately, more than half the ingredients used are not available at the salad bar or in GDS in general on a daily basis. One audience member asked if these salads are available to students at the dining services and the chef deflected the question by answering that there is already a do it yourself salad bar and that some ingredients, like kale, are still in the works to be added into the station. Overall, the program is good for people to find inspiration for meals during the week because it is important to be healthy during the school year, since it is difficult to stay healthy when stress builds up during the semester. Another great program or event GDS should consider having is an event in which students can learn how to cook meals with GDS provided ingredients and their nutritional value.