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Students and Families Diversify With Different Food Options (New Citizens Press – August 14, 2011)

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Students and Families Diversify With Different Food Options (New Citizens Press – August 14, 2011)

Posted on: August 14th, 2011 by Kosher Michigan

Students and Families Diversify With Different Food Options
August 13, 2011

Kosher Food at MSU

Alqudus Halal Market on 2003 E Michigan Avenue (right next to the Green Door) has a steady stream of customers from all nationalities throughout the day.

By Toby A Ten Eyck

LANSING, MI — Michigan State University (MSU) is facing a number of challenges in the coming years, from competing on the football field in the newly restructured Big Ten conference to the rising costs of providing higher education to over 45,000 students.  There is also a challenge in MSU’s cafeterias, as MSU Culinary Services try to meet the growing demands of students from various cultures and backgrounds.  One such effort, was launched during the 2011 spring semester is kosher meals. The kosher meal service program is at Wilson Dining Hall. Through the program, kosher meals will be served during the dinner meal period, starting at 4 p.m., Sunday through Thursday of each week.

“It’s an idea that’s been out there for twenty years,” says Guy Procopio, Director of Culinary Services, “and finally everything’s in place to make it happen.”

The kosher program is the outcome of a combined community and campus effort.  Rabbi Jason Miller of Kosher Michigan, Cindy Hughey, director of the East Lansing Hillel Jewish Student Center, and Charles Radd, principle owner of Woody’s Oasis restaurant in East Lansing, are the off-campus individuals helping MSU develop the program.  Miller and Radd worked together for nearly a year to make it possible to offer kosher food to MSU students, which included buying all new cooking equipment.

Kurt A. Kwiatkowski, Corporate Chef for MSU’s Culinary Services, expects to serve between 25 and 40 kosher meals a day during the Fall semester of 2011.  “These meals need to be made just before they’re picked up,” Kwiatkowski said, “to make sure everything goes as expected.”

Both Procopio and Kwiatkowski said they have seen students pick up a kosher hamburger, walk over to the salad bar, and put a slice of cheese on the burger, which means the burger is no longer kosher. “It’s what the kids want,” says Procopio. “They’re testing the boundaries of their religion.”

Michigan State University also offers halal options.  Halal involves the same restrictions against pork as kosher food, and includes restrictions against consuming alcohol, and one is not allowed to eat land animals without external ears, such as snakes, worms, and insects.  Kosher and halal options are likely to be only the beginning of alternative food options at Michigan State University.  “Students are starting to ask for local options,” noted Kwiatkowski, “so we’re gearing up to offer Michigan-only food days.”

Guy Procopio, director of MSU Culinary Services  said that  Michigan State University is  committed to meeting our students’, faculty, staff and guests’ special dietary needs based on everything from religious practices to food allergies and lifestyle choices.

This was printed in the August 14, 2011 – August 27, 2011 Edition

Kosher Options Adds Variety to Meals at MSU (State News – March 24, 2011)

Posted on: March 24th, 2011 by Kosher Michigan

Kosher options adds variety to meals

By Alethia Kasben | 03/24/11

Adding to the variety of dining options, students have yet another choice.

On March 21, a new kosher option was made available at Wilson Hall, said Samuel Appel, president of the Jewish Student Union. Having food to make students feel at home makes the transition from home life to being at a Big Ten university easier, Appel said.

“It’s important and will be utilized by many students on campus,” he said. “We’ve been trying to spread the word so everyone can use it and enjoy the convenience.”

To serve food that is certified kosher, the meat products have to be kept separate from dairy products and cannot be consumed at the same time, said Rabbi Jason Miller, director of Kosher Michigan, which certified MSU’s kosher option.

“It was a very important endeavor,” said Guy Procopio, director of MSU culinary services, in an email. “We are committed to meeting our students’, faculty, staff and guests’ special dietary needs based on everything from religious practices to food allergies and lifestyle choices.”

Cindy Hughey, the executive director of the MSU Hillel Jewish Student Center, said she went to MSU Residential and Hospitality Services and asked them to consider this option.

“It’s just another dietary observance the university should recognize,” she said. “There’s a selection of students who keep kosher and now they will have the opportunity to eat a full meal including a protein.”

Miller worked with Chuck Raad, the owner of Woody’s Oasis Bar & Grill, 211 E. Grand River Ave., for about a year to make the kosher option available.

“Kosher Michigan supervises the kosher kitchen as well as the area where the food is served to make sure all foods are strictly kosher,” Miller said. “We purchased all new equipment, utensils, pots and pans — everything in the kosher kitchen is segregated from the restaurant.”

Raad was interested in opening a restaurant near campus that would include a kosher kitchen, Procopio said.

“It seemed like a perfect match,” he said. “Our guests are thankful and thrilled that we’re offering a fresh, complete and hot kosher meal option.”

Miller, an MSU alumni, said it was difficult to keep kosher on campus when he was a freshman and is thrilled the option is available to students now.

Showing the university there was a need for this option was the main way to turn the idea into a reality, Appel said.

“It really helps cater to all people on MSU’s campus,” he said. “It helps bring in new students and helps them feel welcome. Those who keep kosher as well as Muslim students, who also have diet restrictions, will benefit from this option.”

Lauryn Holmes, a psychology freshman, said it is good students now have this choice.

“It’s better that students have this option,” she said. “The university needs to cater to everyone.”