The first two weeks at the start of every semester are always the craziest at UNLV. Students are busy with finding their classes, purchasing textbooks and an endless search for a parking space. It’s also during this time that clubs and student organizations become accustomed to the new changes made within them. In Epicurean’s case, veteran members are few as many have graduated or taken on new responsibilities outside the club. This year Epicurean Society not only looks forward to gaining new members but also in the direction where Epicurean’s newest president will take its members. 

Photos by Hanna Min - Fall 2017 Epicurean Society President Kevin Ng.

Epicurean’s newest president this semester is Kevin Ng, a graduating senior and a veteran member of the club, not to mention a talented cook. It’s no surprise that he’s a hospitality major, concentrating in Food & Beverage. He’s also been a big help in the majority of the events the club has held these last couple of semesters. No one was opposed to the idea of Kevin taking over the position of president because such a position couldn’t have been left in better hands. He made his intentions and goals for Epicurean clear during our first leadership meeting. “As the new president, I want to bring Epicurean back to where it was before the club started losing members,” he declared.  “Our focus for this semester will be to attract Hotel College students by offering volunteer hour incentives, activities which will have members be more physically involved, and reintroduce outings to our activities.”

Of course, just like previous semesters, we also want to grab the interest of students outside the Hotel College. Kevin continued, “We’ll also encourage word of mouth to bring students from outside the Hotel College to us, whether that is through social media exposure or by collaborating with other on-campus organizations. We have definite plans to be at the mixer on September 13th. At the mixer, we are featuring a trio of amuse bouche dishes, which will be themed after reiterations of familiar foods. Overall my plan is to gradually make Epicurean known to the entire campus starting with the Hotel College. I can’t accomplish this in one semester, so the torch will be passed on to future presidents. But this is the direction Epicurean must go in.”

Speaking of the Hotel Mixer, September 13th marked the 50th Anniversary of the Hotel College. Besides the event being a mixer, it was also a birthday celebration. Unlike last semester, the mixer was held in the Beam Hall Atrium instead of the Boyd Dining Room. Students had the opportunity to engage with Advising, Library, Career Services and various hotel clubs. Free food, prizes, music and so much more were offered. It was an important day for Epicurean as our goal was to recruit as many members as we could. Fortunately, it seemed like many students were interested, as our signup sheets were filling up quickly. I mean, it did help that we had a few temptations spread out for students to try new flavors and combinations. 

We served three different dishes. The first was a Thai Pesto Focaccia One-Bite. This was an Italian dish made with a Thai twist. The homemade focaccia was topped with a Thai pistachio pesto, Thai basil, pistachios and Thai curry oil. The one-bite was finished with a roasted heirloom cherry tomato and a single pistachio. The second was the Ramen Bite: a college staple transformed. It’s basically a ramen cracker topped with nori caviar, shaved soy-cured egg and chopped chives. The flavor is reminiscent of shoyu ramen. The final dish displayed was the Fall Apple Compote. This one-bite was meant to feature the beginning of apple season. Diced Fuji apples are sautéed in brown butter, brown sugar and apple brandy. They are then topped with a pecan crumble and finished with a dollop of maple-brown sugar whipped cream. Each of the samples had a unique flavor to it, though I would say that my favorite was the Fall Apple Compote. 

We hope the club grows and prospers in the next couple of months. As the saying goes, “When you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.” I’m really excited that the club will be doing a lot more activities this semester not only because we did not have them last semester, but also because these activities will be an opportunity for members to grow closer. That’s an aspect I believe is very important to have in a club because Epicurean is a family, a family of foodies. With that said, please look forward to many events and club activities the Epicurean Society will be hosting this fall semester!