As the new school year begins, the Epicurean Society is enjoying an influx of new faces. We have a busy semester ahead including outings, events and guest speakers to name a few. We have already elected new leadership to fill vacant positions, ran a successful hotel club mixer and hosted our first meeting.

Each fall, the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration hosts a connection mixer for students interested in organizations that align with the field of Hospitality. The Epicurean Society is one of such organizations. Chef Sandoval, with the help of a few Epicurean members and nonmembers, catered the event. Luckily Chef provided an opportunity for the Epicurean Society to contribute even more.

Our station hosted a trio of gazpacho, a cold soup dish originating in Spain. Our new Society President Ariel Shivangi, the new head of Culinary Education Glenn Harris, and I prepared and portioned out all three soups. We prepared a traditional savory Tomato, a sweet and bitter Watermelon and a creamy Grape and Almond gazpacho. The trio offered a comparison of flavors and textures. The Tomato had classical chowder thickness with nut much variation to the traditional version, but heavy in flavor. The Watermelon acted as a counter having the consistency of juice with portions of cucumber skin to give it a bitter flavor. Fresh dill and fresh Hatch chili pepper added a well-rounded backbone flavor. Together they contrasted the sweet of the melon, working as a palate cleanser to the first gazpacho. Lastly was the Grape, a very thick-bodied dish generated by semi-ground almonds which heightened the creamy and slightly sweet apple taste thanks to the inclusion of sherry vinegar. Everyone manning our table proudly wore chef uniforms as we signed up interested parties to our e-mail list. Although the event was only an hour and a half long we collected a list of over 60 names of interested students. All in all an exciting and very productive event.

For our first Society meeting I arrived early to get the ball rolling. While setting up seating, it became clear that the success of the club mixer could mean 60 additional students might attend the first get together of the year. If even only half of those interested attended, a few would have to stand. Just a few minutes into meeting introductions, I’m proud to report that the meeting was standing room only. We had nearly 65 people attend, more than double the attendees from last semester. The agenda covered leadership introductions, volunteer opportunities and a tentative semester schedule.

The club plans to visit a restaurant or other food-based property each month, and a handful are already set in stone. Ariel and I plan to work with more industry experts to set up additional trips. In a similar vein, we plan to personally invite industry professionals to visit the UNLV campus to share their love of food and their expertise in getting started in the food and beverage industry. The last item on the monthly checklist is Glenn’s culinary education demonstrations where he shares new flavor combinations, cooking techniques or other educational segments about food.

On October 26th we hold the annual Epik-toberfest event. The Society teams with the UNLV Beverage Club and the group prepares German foodstuff paired with beers as a fundraiser for both organizations. This event educates the UNLV student body and staff on a less familiar cuisine. It provides a hands-on learning experience in planning, execution and breakdown of banquet style events. Epik-toberfest student participation demonstrates UNLV’s core value of providing hospitality students experiences in event planning, marketing and restaurant management. It also acts as a public outreach, connecting the society and the community to help manage the costs of this event through donations.

The Society’s leadership has evolved with existing and new members. Returning to their posts are Co-Secretaries Meghan Schoener and Deanna Wong. Delainey Rowland continues to act in the capacity of Social Media Coordinator, while Noel Aquino remains Club Historian. Aiding Brigette Rech as Co-Treasurer is Shivangi Khurania. Glenn Harris will take on the reigns of Culinary Education. I myself return as Magazine Coordinator, and will also serve as Vice President. Ariel Larson is stepping up to the plate as the club President. Two teachers assume the challenging role of club Advisor: Dr. Christine Bergman and Executive Chef Mark Sandoval. With this talented team this will be a very strong year for the Epicurean Society.