Deanna Wong and Kimberly Verdin. Photos by Hanna Min and Giorgina Agrellas

Entering the new year, Epicurean Society began fresh. Not only are there months of events ahead of us, the leadership team has undergone major changes as well. Our former president, Kevin Ng, had to leave his position after having graduated and accepted a full-time position, but Epicurean Society will not be slowing down.

I write to congratulate and thank our new co-presidents, Deanna Wong and Kimberly Verdin. Their three year-long experiences in the club have prepared them for their co-presidency. I had the pleasure of interviewing them, gaining insight on their goals for the club and being able to understand them as the leaders. 

“Epicurean Society has allowed me to look forward to activities throughout the semester that I can enjoy with a great group of food-loving people,” Deanna said. The organization’s uniqueness and direction provides new and current members an educative, comfortable and unrestrictive environment.

When asked what Epicurean Society means to them and why, I received authentic and sincere answers. Oftentimes, individuals believe that our organization is for those who can cook. However, this is not the case. “It’s a place where opportunities to gain skills and insight into the food and beverage industry arise,” Kimberly added. 

The organization weaves together individuals who are interested or passionate in food and beverage, and especially hospitality. “When I first joined Epicurean Society three years ago, I thought I was just going to learn about different kinds of foods. However, this organization is more than just food. I am able to network with many people in the hospitality field, both students and professionals, while enjoying delicious meals,” Deanna opined.

Epicurean Society members truly have a proper, healthy outlet to demonstrate their passion for food and beverage: handling cutlery, tasting dishes or drinks, traveling to local eateries, networking with professionals and meeting new people.

We needed to outline the steps that our organization would take in order to improve and a clear mission in mind for the new year. So, we sought a goal and its approach. By identifying the aim of the club, a uniformed message would allow for more suitable advertising and event planning.

“Our main goal would definitely be to bring more exposure to the club. By doing so, we also hope to make the club more recognized not only within the Hospitality College, but also throughout UNLV,” Kimberly explained.

Exposure can only be brought upon by people who are willing to talk about the organization and share program details with the community. In order to influence the parties around them, a group must be willing to market itself and its mission. “Advertising more would be one way to work towards that goal. We really need to make ourselves stand out more. I want it to get to the point where I won’t have to explain what Epicurean is anymore,” Kimberly said.

In addition to Kimberly’s comment, Deanna spoke about creating a welcoming environment for food lovers which will allow them “to share their excitement and adoration for food with one another.”

The focus of this semester is truly branching out to the public and providing our new and current members with more immersive opportunities. “There will be more member-led activities to bring everyone together and show others what Epicurean Society is all about,” Deanna added. This includes giving students more food and beverage preparation practice, kitchen visits and property tours.

In order to understand Kimberly and Deanna more, I went on to ask what their personal goals were as co-presidents of the club. “I hope to decrease our member turnover by the end of the semester,” Kimberly related. Oftentimes, organizations find it difficult in maintaining the interests of its people; however, Epicurean Society has the potential to exceed its current boundaries.

This is because the food and beverage industry, like hospitality, is broad and ever expanding with diversity. The leadership team has decided to capture and maintain the interests of others. “My goal as co-president is to build a society that is ever willing to explore various cuisines, foods, and local restaurants,” Deanna said. Focusing on the variety in the industry will ultimately attract more students and enable them to develop as professionals.

In the past year, Epicurean Society has experienced a number of changes within leadership and general member counts. However, the new focus of Epicurean Society will attract new members, offering students routes to connect with leaders in food and beverage while adding more to their plate of experiences and skills. The revamped agenda for Epicurean Society as a whole will naturally bring more members to our open doors.