“VegFest” Month Benefits Students With Plant-Based Diets

Vegan and vegetarian students have shared opinions on the alternative options offered at Pearsons and Isaac’s Cafe. Some feel that, while the options given are good, they would love to see variety in the foods they are given.

In response to this, James Dulin, Metz General Manager on campus, shared excitement for this month’s VegFest activities and his hope for student involvement, engagement and help bringing forward new plant-based recipes. Plant-based food options, Dulin said, will always be a high priority for him and his staff.

Vegetarian sophomore, Emma Henson, wishes there were more high-protein options. “Being vegetarian doesn’t mean I can just survive off of vegetables; it would be great to have more dishes with vegetarian protein sources, like tofu, soy, yogurt, chickpeas, etc.”

Sophomores Gabe Hatcher and Lilli Bryan agree. Hatcher said, “It would be nice if they added more protein options…I would like to see tofu and pseudo-meats more often.” Bryan shared their hopes for more variety.

When asked if there were plans to expand the plant-based options, Dulin shared that the campus had recently partnered with an all-vegetarian campus just south of Maryville College. “I would hope that as we flesh out that partnership…we’ll start getting some recipes.”

Dulin said that chefs often see the vegan and vegetarian population as small. “I don’t have a mechanism of knowing how many students [follow this diet], but I always say, ‘Plan for at least forty people being vegan.’ I say this to my cooks so that they won’t make light of it.”

Variety is also something Dulin would love to see. “Another way in which our database of recipes can expand is by our students saying, ‘Here’s this recipe’ and ‘Here’s something that I like’ We’ll have the ability to practice them here and send them up to be put into the database,” he said.

He said he would even love to see a vegan and vegetarian dining committee, one that meets monthly to share recipes and talk about likes and dislikes. “No one wants to hear bad news all the time, but it is a good way of getting and bettering things.”

Dulin said that the month of October is VegFest. “Throughout the month, we will have special, identified recipes that will be made, and there will be a ‘VegFest Item of the Day.’” Dulin compared this month to the International Month, when the International students get involved and share recipes from their home countries. “Who’s to say that during VegFest Month, if students want to get involved and introduce themselves and all that, that we don’t make a bigger show of it.”

Dulin encourages students to be involved in the dining options. Whether vegan, vegetarian or otherwise, he is more than happy to sit down and discuss alternatives.

“All-you-care-to-eat places don’t always fit everybody. You would think ‘Oh there is all of this variety,’ but sometimes, you just need a little roadmap. Take that from a former geography teacher!”

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