ISU Dinner

Graduate students Silvia Navarrete Rivero and Eloisa Alcocer Vazquez work with Executive Chef Matt Rapposelli, the International Student Union's faculty adviser, at the 2008 International Dinner.

Photographer: Carrie Pratt 

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Annual International Dinner brings new food to the table this Saturday

Ohio University’s annual International Dinner will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. in Nelson Banquet Hall. The event is themed “Taste Global, Eat Local,” encouraging individuals to taste a variety of international dishes that they might never have had a chance to otherwise.

“If you’re at all interested in food or culture, whether it’s one or the other or both, it’s fantastic. It’s unlike anything,” said Executive Chef Matt Rapposelli.

Twenty-one student organizations have collaborated with the International Student Union (ISU) to put together the event, and each will be working to create at least one dish related to their culture.

Rapposelli has been busy translating the 29 different recipes that will be served and calculating the necessary ingredients for each so that at least 500 servings can be made come the morning of Oct. 9. A cooking schedule has been created, and groups with elaborate or lengthy preparations will start as early as 8 a.m. in Jefferson Dining Hall.

“It’s totally a student-driven event. They do everything,” Rapposelli explained.

He and a few other staff members obtain the necessary ingredients and are on-hand in case any of the students need help. For many, this is their first time in a large kitchen, and some of the equipment can be confusing, Rapposelli said.

While he describes the day as “orchestrated chaos,” Rapposelli would not have it any other way.

“My absolute favorite part is the day in the kitchen. Hands down. It’s just because it’s electric,” he said.

Once the food is ready, it is placed in heated containers and transported to the banquet hall. From there, the feast begins.

Graduate student Sri Mazlisa Moh Salleh, programming director of the ISU, has worked hard to ensure the event is a success. Salleh is supported by ISU executive members, more than 100 volunteers, and, for the first time, Ohio University hospitality management students.

Preparation and execution of the event will help hospitality management students to earn credit for a required practical experience. Rapposelli initiated their involvement, and Salleh said she is thankful for the extra assistance.

Along with food, the event will feature a video about the cuisines in order to promote cultural understanding. The music of different countries will also be played at the dinner.

Salleh said she is looking forward to seeing the guests’ delight with the meal.

“I love meeting people and getting involved with activities that promote cultural understanding,” she said.

Tickets for the International Dinner are $7 each and can be purchased at the International Student and Faculty Services office in room 348 of Baker University Center. For more information visit