It is said that nothing brings people together like good food.
Here at the University, this is most certainly true as each month a Saint Leo University faculty or staff member hosts dinner at an exquisite restaurant. This provides a new and exciting way for students to socialize, expand their palate, and actively engage in acculturation. Past dining choices have included Japanese, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian cuisine, a mom and pop Italian spot, and even a piano bar for Valentine’s Day.
Last month, for example, Paige Ramsey-Hamacher, Director for Multicultural and International Services, hosted dinner at the Columbia Restaurant, located in Ybor City. This restaurant was founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., and is not only Florida’s oldest restaurant, but the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. Here, students were treated with an array of traditional Columbian dishes, as well as a captivating Flamenco performance.
“Food for Thought has been going on for many, many years, and I think it is an excellent opportunity for students and faculty to interact in a different atmosphere. Everyone seems to enjoy it since it’s been going on for over twelve years, and students keep coming back,” said Ramsey-Hamacher.
Carol Hope-Grant, Senior Coordinator for the Center for Student Success, also shared similar sentiments.
“There is something profoundly satisfying about sharing a meal. Eating together, breaking bread together, is one of the oldest and most fundamentally unifying of human experiences,” said Hope-Grant. “Food for Thought does an excellent job in bringing together people who normally would not socialize with each other. Though I may not enjoy the food at one restaurant, I always look forward to visiting other restaurants, and experience other traditional cuisines. I particular like socializing with students. Typically, I would not have the opportunity to talk and engage with such students.”
“Though the food was not anything I was used to, I enjoyed the dance performances, and the service was superior,” said Freshman Riche Deleveaux.
“I enjoyed both the food and the performance. I initially was reluctant to try new food, but I am really happy I went and gave it a try. I am definitely looking forward to future Food for Thought events,” said Danielle Meikle.
With ticket prices ranging from $5-$10, Food for Thought is definitely a well-worth-it experience. It generally happens at the end of each month so be sure to look out for these tickets on the Saint Leo University ticket webpage.