IMU hosting series of free interactive cooking demonstrations, tastings

  • Sept. 27, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana Memorial Union Dining Services will continue its International Chef Series on Oct. 1, featuring free interactive cooking demonstrations and tastings.

Additional events in the series are scheduled for Oct. 16, Oct. 29 and Nov. 12. All events, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Cyber Cafe in the lower level of the Herman B Wells Library, are free and open to the public.

Each event features an award-winning chef preparing an authentic dish from one of the many countries represented in Indiana University's large international student population. The chef will discuss the origin of each dish, key ingredients utilized, flavor profile and technique used in pre-preparation, marinating, and cooking the dish. The dish will be prepared in its entirety in front of audience members, after which they will have the opportunity to sample the dish. The chef will also discuss how to source the ingredients, provide tips for common alternate ingredients and allow audience members to ask questions. Free recipe cards will be available.

This week's chef is Tom Berinati, who will prepare masoor dal with rotis. The catering chef at the IMU, Berinati has an interest in world cuisine. During his time at the IMU, he has served students, faculty, wedding guests and conference guests, including Bill Cosby, James Brown, Bill Maher and Meryl Streep.

“The International Chef Series was inspired by the large international student population at IU and seeking a way to better connect with these students," IMU Dining Services resident district manager Chris Gray said. "We thought one of the best ways to connect with people is through food. Every time we offer a Chinese, Korean, Thai or Indian selection on our menu, we spark the interest of many customers, including both international students and domestic students. We also thought this would a great opportunity for our guest chefs to showcase their talents in front of an engaged group of students."

The first event Sept. 25 featured IMU executive chef Damian Esposito, who prepared red curry chicken with basmati rice. The creative force behind the IMU's catering business, Esposito is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and has more than 20 years of experience, including working at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., the top private dining club in the country, and with the USA Culinary Olympic Team. He won grand prize and the people's choice award in the Bloomington Chef’s Challenge in 2001; and has been a guest chef for the Local Growers Guild events, the Art of Chocolate showcase and Taste of Bloomington, where the IMU dining team has won awards each of the past three years.

The first International Chef Series will feature cuisine from India, China, Korea and Thailand. If the series is successful, it will continue into the spring semester and feature food from South America, the Mediterranean, Malaysian, Vietnam and beyond.

Tom Berinati

Indiana Memorial Union catering chef Tom Berinati.

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