Rachel Vitello

News Editor

Keene State College students were able to take a trip around the world, figuratively, in the Zorn Dining Commons. On Wednesday, September. 4, Keene Dining hosted an International Market Place event in the dining hall from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event allowed all students, whether or not they had a meal plan, to enjoy a variety of foods from multiple cultures. The food included bangers and mash with onions originally from the United Kingdom, steak tacos from the Southwest, jerk pork tips over coconut rice from the Carribean and vegetable vindaloo from India. For dessert there was an ice cream bar with waffle bowls and toppings.

The dining hall also hosted this dinner last year. According to Campus Executive Chef Troy Bellot, this year’s international themed dinner features mostly the same countries, just with an improvement.

“We’re doing some similar countries to last year but with very different food. There’s different twists and quite frankly doing it to perfection this year,” Bellot said.

Bellot also said the difference between last year and this year is the dining hall’s dedication to staying true to the cultures they are representing with the menu.

“[The menus] were chosen kind of randomly last year. What I wanted to do was take a lot of last year’s menu and just rebuild it into something a little more authentic,” Bellot said. “Like the jerk pork tips, the seasonings for that comes from Jamaica. The bangers and mash is an authentic bangers and mash with gravy that we’ve done the right way.”

Student reaction to the event was positive. Students were seen sampling the food from each station. KSC first-year Isabelle Travis said the dessert station was a hit.

“I really like the ice cream bar they have set up,” Travis said.

According to Bellot, the positive student reaction should come as no surprise.

“Our student reaction has been absolutely fantastic,” Bellot said. “The students have really embraced the different ideas and different things we’re doing. It’s been not as much a challenge, it’s been really fun to present these new things to the students because the reactions we’re getting fuels us and motivates us to keep doing great work.”

The dining hall will continue to embrace new and innovative ideas for the remainder of the semester. In a few weeks the dining hall will include a global condiment station. This station will be a regular staple in the facilities and will feature condiments from around the globe, including Jjapanese and Kkenyan condiments.

“It’s something really fun and new we’re adding and we’re working with the different student groups on campus. It’s really nice to feel a little bit at home when you’re kind of far away,” Bellot said.

The dining hall will also be hosting teaching kitchens again this semester. These were held last year as well and serve to teach students how to cook a variety of different meals. Students can sign up for these on the dining hall’s website.

The next specialty event in the dining hall will be the annual Localvore Lunch on Wednesday, September 25. This lunch will include all locally grown and, produced foods and will have local vendors on site as well.

Dining Commons Resident District Manager Jackie Romito-Carey and Marketing Director Caitlin Howell did not respond to request for comment.

Rachel Vitello

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