Students from around the globe experience America through Troy, but how often do Troy students experience other nations?
Sodexo and Troy Dining Services showcased international cuisine from Sanjay Kumar Paswan on Feb. 23-24.
Paswan is from India and specializes in authentic Indian cuisine.
“Every year, Sodexo manages a program called the Global Chef Program,” Paswan said. “They invite chefs from all over the world [to participate].”
Sodexo’s Global Chef Program is an international chef residency in which Sodexo’s top chefs from arounf the world can travel to different countries and share their cuisines, cultures and recipes with students, staff and other chefs.
According to Sodexo’s website, the Global Chef Program was “inspired by student surveys and client aspirations” and is “designed to increase student satisfaction and bring a fresh and unique experience to campus dining.”
Paswan said that he was able to share his recipes with members of the Troy Dining Staff.
“All the chefs and administrators [involved] had a prior meeting to discuss the recipes,” Paswan said. “So, when I came here everything was ready the way I’d already taught them.”
“The staff of Troy did it all. I just directed it.”
According to globalchefprogram.com, Paswan developed a passion for food early in his life, when he learned to prepare the majority of the food while his mother was in poor health.
At the age of 18, against his father’s wishes, Paswan decided he wanted to become a chef.
According to the website, he has worked in numerous restaurants, many of which were in hotels. His restaurant, Spice Studio, is located inside a luxury hotel and received an award for “Best Indian Restaurant.”
A few of Paswan’s Indian dishes featured in the dining hall were Naan and Poori (bread), Kheer (rice pudding), and Patra ni machhi (Cod marinated in Indian spices and steamed in banana leaves).
Patra ni machhi is one of Paswan’s specialties.
“It’s marinated fish wrapped into a banana leaf and then steam cooked,” Paswan said. “It’s quite healthy. You put it into the steamer so the flavor of banana leaf goes into the fish so that when you open it you have that whole experience, which is heavenly.”
Michael Orlofsky, a professor of English, was able to taste Paswan’s dishes.
“I like to experiment and to sample different cuisines, so I’ve had Indian food before,” Orlofsky said. “It’s always an adventure. It’s just so different from McNuggets or cheeseburgers. Though, this time, they lowered the threshold for the American pallet so it wasn’t so spicy.”
Orlofsky said that he only had one gripe with the Global Chef Program.
“My only regret is that it’s only once a year,” Orlofsky said. “I wish this could be a once-a-semester thing.”
Paswan said that he believed the program is important in celebrating diversity.
“One should not stick with their own food,” Paswan said. “You must try something different, different foods. We all like to wear different uniforms or different dresses [for women]. So why not food? You should try it and if you like it, you like it, no matter if it’s from Tibet or India.”