Photo Credit: Candice Imam

Epicurean Society finally began to wind down as members prepared diligently for their finals, eager for winter break at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The semester of Fall 2019 had provided our team with many challenges to overcome and offered incredible success to be earned. As the greater majority of the team had graduated the semester prior, we started Fall 2019 with a mighty team of three, each taking on multiple roles and tasks. What kept our drive was the passion for the industry and the desire to bring all the benefits of Epicurean Society to others. To learn, grow and enjoy together. 

We conducted our first meeting two weeks into the semester, hoping for at least four or five people to show up. We walked into a room with almost forty students, primarily freshman, all eager to join and enjoy the food we had provided that day. The advertisement and hard work our team did over the summer had really paid off. While it is common that students may come and go as the semester carries on, we had a strong core group of a little over twenty or so. Together, our team volunteered for various events that contributed to our school. We supported other clubs, provided for the arts department on campus and even helped with a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs event. And so much more. 

While there is still much to be learned and improved on, our small club of three turned into a thriving group of students. Through the common interest of food, we’ve become a bonded family with a passion to serve. Sharing a simple meal together with a group of like-minded individuals is more impactful than one may realize. And to see the growth in a club of people is truly an incredible experience. Students that have never stepped foot in a professional kitchen became leaders in the back-of-house. Freshmen that have never worked a front-of-house operation in their lives became Michelin Star-level servers. Others showed us a level of skills and creativity I never could have anticipated, proving that we shouldn’t underestimate anyone. To see that confidence, development and growth within one semester in a young person entering this wild industry for the first time is indescribably rewarding. 

Seeing this steady group of individuals, our original leadership team of three decided it was time to expand the team. We had a high interest in members to join, so it was time to begin the application process. We were ready for the club to become more inclusive to everyone by delegating tasks. In doing so, we hoped we could create the foundation to thrive, each leader focusing on one task rather than doing multiple. Interestingly enough, we had just the right number of new members interview to fill each role, with each individual being exactly the kind of person we wanted to fill it. The decision was unanimous, and our original leadership team of three truly felt like everything was falling into place. The few who did not fill the offered positions still proved to have strong skills within other areas of Epicurean. These individuals allowed us to expand some leadership specifically to focus on areas either in BoH or FoH service. Soon, our small leadership team of three became a team of seven. We had our first official new leadership team meeting before the end of the semester, and it is very exciting to see what these individuals will be bringing to the table. Their new ideas and talents will truly help Epicurean Society thrive and grow in the upcoming years. 

To tease what is to come, we do have our big fundraising dinner at the end of the Spring Semester. Our team came up with some incredible ideas and have concluded on what we’d like to accomplish; it will be ambitious, but a wonderful and rewarding new concept. We also have a multitude of new events, outings, learning opportunities and even restaurant tours in the works for the upcoming future. We’re excited to be able to provide students with experience and more learning opportunities as we continue to expand. Students who may not have been able to otherwise, will have the opportunity to learn and experience offerings from all over the Las Vegas area. 

With all that being said, this will be my last article for Epicurean Society. Our club has an incredibly talented new journalist, and I can’t wait to read about our activities from his perspective. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my writings as I try to share our experiences with the industry. It was a pleasure to share my passion with like-minded individuals who understand the importance of hospitality as much as we do.