As the last month of the semester came to a close, the Epicurean Club anointed a new Vice President, executed two very different but fun events, and found a new journalist to take my place as I become Epicurean Society President.

As the year approaches its end our wonderful Club President Ariel graduates, leaving UNLV to begin her full-time career in the restaurant industry. I will be stepping up to fill her role leaving my position as Vice President vacant. Stepping up to that role is Alycia Thiel-Groner, a transfer student from Palm Springs, CA. She’s worked in the industry for almost 10 years and wants to become a restaurant developer/consultant in the future. She’s also a member of Sigma Kappa’s Theta Eta chapter here at UNLV. She’s greatly invested in the front-of-house because of the interaction with guests. Her favorite part is helping people try new foods and flavors. I know she’ll be a great addition to the Epicurean Family and look forward to working with her over the next semester.

We hosted two events at UNLV in the last three weeks of the Fall Semester. First was a UNLV hospitality Organization Barbeque social hosted at the community garden. The garden has numerous plots that can be reserved for use by UNLV students and staff for planting. Chef Sandoval has reserved two plots and has allowed many of his students and Epicurean Club members to help fill them. We have numerous root vegetables, huge Thai and Italian basil bushes, numerous kinds of leafy greens and rosemary all growing in planters. The Epicurean Club decided to throw a barbeque at the garden for the other Hotel College clubs on campus. We sent out invitations, rented a great charcoal grill, and started cooking away. It was going great until the sun went down and it hit 45 degrees. Although it was cold by many people’s standards we roughed it out, huddled around the grill, talking and eating for a few hours before we wrapped it all up. In the future we might invest in heating lamps for similar events if the weather requires it.

We also hosted the first annual Epicurean Winter Social, an event open to the entire student body. In the front-of-house we set up an ornament creation station, a picture backdrop, sugar and gingerbread cookie table decorations, and showing of the Christmas movie Elf. In the back-of-house we made all the cookies, apple cider, hot cocoa with an optional chili water additive, a hearty potato chowder and three different kinds of tamales. The tamales had a pork and cheese option, a vegetarian option and also a vegan option which excluded lard from the dough. The event lasted for many hours and attracted many people coming by for the atmosphere and the food. The cider and tamales were a hit.

Understanding the scope of my new position, I fear I will not be able to give as much time and attention to this publication as it deserves in the upcoming year. As a result, I have decided to step down from my position and give my fellow club member and friend Kimberly Verdin the opportunity to share her perspective and experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with all of you. I look forward to reading her work and keeping up-to-date on the happenings of Food and Beverage in Las Vegas along with all of you as a consumer instead of a producer.

Until the foreseeable future, enjoy the food you eat and remember to try something new every chance you get. Try cooking a dish you’ve never made before from a culture you want to learn about. Next on my list is Mapo tofu.