Three hundred faculty and staff filled Beckham Hall for a feast of food and drink provided by 18 vendors at the fifth annual Taste of Middletown on March 9. Offerings ranged from empanadas, a macaroni and cheese bar, salads, chicken tikka masala and vegan spring rolls to a wide assortment of pastries and desserts and a variety of beverages. Wesleyan welcomed six new vendors to the event this year, including La Piastra, Red Fox, Iguanas Ranas, Taino Smokehouse, Fiore II, Mi Argentina and Mondo.
Attendees donated 327 pounds of food and $133 to the Amazing Grace Food Pantry. This marked a 15 percent increase from last year. Twenty-two people won raffle prizes, including tickets to a Yankees game, a Yale golf foursome, overnight stays with breakfast for two from all the participating hotels and gift certificates to local restaurants.
This year for the first time, organizers encouraged attendees to bring their own mug or utensils or to purchase a reusable clamshell container from Bon Appetit to promote sustainability. Those who did earned an extra raffle ticket.
“Each year the event is getting more popular. This year seemed to be the best one yet, with so many more restaurants participating,” said Purchasing Director Olga Bookas. “It is so wonderful to see our employees so excited to attend this event!”
(Photos by Laurie Kenney)
Attendees chose from offerings from 18 local restaurants, hotels and bakeries.
Jen Jurgen, associate director of University Relations operations, Kate Tedford, assistant director of The Wesleyan Fund, and Brittany Richard, assistant director of annual giving, enjoy a refreshing beverage.
Chef Joseph Callaghan with Bon Appetit served up short rib tacos, pan seared scallops, pastries and more.
Sustainability Director Jennifer Kleindienst collected food in a reusable clamshell container, part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts to reduce waste.
Psyche Loui, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, associate professor of integrative sciences, with her husband, Richard West.
Ismet Jooma, assistant director of online communications for University Relations, and Khrystyna Stefak, assistant director of alumni and parent relations.
Krishna Panbey, owner of Haveli India, with Purchasing Director Olga Booka, who helped organize the event together with the Campus Activities Committee.
Vegan spring rolls prepared by Sheffield’s Restaurant at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell.
Maureen Zimmer, academic affairs coordinator, Megan Flagg, executive assistant to the provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Lisa Sacks, assistant director for curricular initiatives.
Wesleyan staff members peruse the dessert spread.
Mouthwatering pastry close-up.