“Food is like a universal language that is speaking beyond boundaries” - STU’s Culinary Adventure Initiative

Students sitting at dining table

“Food breaks barriers and speaks a language that everyone understands. It’s like music—you do not need to understand the words in order for you to groove to it, ”  said Saa Andrew Gbongbor, Cultural Diversity Coordinator at STU.


That’s how he came up with the idea of creating the Culinary Adventure initiative on campus.


Gbongbor was an international student at STU and a graduate from 2009. He knows as well as anyone how homesick people can feel, and how much you can miss the food you have from back home.


The Culinary Adventures series features recipes submitted by international students at STU who come from different countries and regions. Chef Michael Greer and his team have been taking the recipes and bringing them to life for each event.


With a goal of helping international students feel they have a home on campus, there have already been more than 15 countries represented at the events, which are hosted in the George Martin Dining Hall. Dishes from the following places have already been featured: Nepal, India, Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Swahili Coast, Nigeria, and France.


Ana Pavon, a STUdent from Honduras, said the day her country was featured, she remembers walking in and instantly recognizing smells from home.

“You could smell the food, and it really brought me that sense of home,” she said. “It felt authentic.”


The initiative has been so successful that Gbongbor hopes to turn it into a cookbook, which will feature all recipes used, as well as images that submitted by STUdents. The plan is to produce and sell the cookbook, with money raised going back to STUdents.