Southside Buffet hosts second Sustainable Dinner

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When driving around State College and the surrounding area, you often see bumper stickers with the phrase “Buy Fresh. Buy Local.” With more and more people paying attention to where their food comes from, buying from area farms and farmers markets is growing in popularity among area residents and Penn State students alike.

In September, sous chef Stephane Gawlowicz hosted his first sustainable dinner at the Southside Buffet at Redifer. It was so popular with students he ran out of food before the evening ended. With that success in mind, Gawlowicz set about planning a second sustainable dinner for the spring semester.

Gawlowicz faced some challenges planning a meal after such a long and tough winter. Many products he had easy access to during the fall semester are not available during the winter and early spring. Gawlowicz had to get creative.

“It was a bit challenging to come up with a menu,” said Gawlowicz. “Our choices were limited, but this allows us to explain to our customers and staff what can be grown in Pennsylvania during the winter months. I hope it awakens their curiosity and even influences their buying habits.”

For the sustainable dinner, almost all of the products came from Pennsylvania producers within 160 miles of Penn State. The meal consisted of a maple-glazed game hen served with potatoes au gratin, sautéed crimini mushrooms, crispy smoked bacon and butter lettuce greens. The vegetarian option offered a portabella cheeseburger, wild rice and parsley pesto.

Gawlowicz is already looking forward to planning another sustainable dinner for the fall semester, especially with the increased variety in foods available. “I’m definitely impatient to see everything come back to life."

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Last Updated May 13, 2014