Photos courtesy of the Darden Photography Club

The 30th annual Global Food Festival, organized by the Global Business and Culture Club (GBCC) with support from the Darden Center for Global Initiatives (CGI), was a tasty success this year. Lorena Quezada Zaragoza (Class of 2019), president of GBCC who contributed significantly to the event and its success, commented, “The Global Food Festival is my favorite event at Darden! Students have the opportunity to interact with each other and share different traditions from all over the world. It is a day of joy that integrates the Darden community and celebrates diversity. Last year, I cooked with the Peruvian team, and this year I played an active role during the festival as president of GBCC. ”

This year, the Global Food Festival took place on Sunday, 24 September inside of Darden’s Saunders Hall. The attendees included Darden students, faculty and staff, as well as many family members and friends. The annual Global Food Festival features food tasting and cultural performances, which showcase international cultures and cuisines. This year, attendees enjoyed dance performances by the Darden South Asia Society (DSAS) and Darden Dance Revolution and live music entertainment from a local band including Professor Marc Lipson.

Among the 20 tables sponsored at this year’s festival, the Argentina table offered participants a South American treat made by a culinary school graduate. Guest chef and Darden partner, Molly Harrison, prepared alfajor, a traditional cookie sandwich with a creamy Dulce de Leche filling.

Second year student and president of the Darden African Business Organization (DABO), Asong Lekeaka (Class of 2019), curated some West African dishes for the DABO table and offered insight into his inspiration for the event. “We wanted to expose people to African cuisine,” Asong shared. “We are limited here given the range of food from West Africa, but we did our best to provide some of that.”

First year student, Natalie Stoll (Class of 2020), wanted to find a way to represent Palestine in this year’s event, so she reached out to the organizers of the Israel table and offered to make the fan favorite, baklava. Natalie commented, “It is so great how many people come out and make food for this event and I was just happy to be involved. Thanks to the organizers of the Israel table for making it so easy to join the festivities.”

While every table offered wonderful dishes, the judges (a select group of faculty and staff) selected winners of three categories: France for cultural attire; Brazil for table decoration; and Ethiopia for best food. In the student poll for the best food category, Brazil received the gold medal, followed by China and India.

Each year, the Global Food Festival culminates One Darden Week – a week celebrating diversity, inclusion and the global community at Darden. This year, One Darden Week included several global sessions and activities sponsored by various student affinity clubs and departments at Darden. Early in the week, Graduate Women in Business hosted a “Gender Goes Global” panel, DABO and Black Business Student Association co-hosted a panel on “Identity Exploration”, and Asia Business Club at Darden sponsored a Thai tea tasting at First Coffee. The week also included movie screening of Love, Simon by Pride at Darden and a global First Coffee event with chai and samosas co-sponsored by DSAS and CGI. Darden’s Latin American Student Association rounded out One Darden Week with a cold call barbeque.

One Darden Week kicked off with a community-wide celebration at First Coffee