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Fostering Community with Student-Submitted Recipes

SAGE Community

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At SAGE, we embrace students of diverse cultural backgrounds and enjoy celebrating those cultures through food. Our Managers work with student groups to honor customs and traditions in the dining hall through authentic cuisine, and we encourage students and community members to submit their favorite recipes to be included in the menus.

Kirby Jones, Senior Food Service Director at Principia School in St. Louis, knows the importance of including student-submitted recipes in his menus. He said there’s a large African population at the school, so he wanted to include jollof rice in the menu. Jollof rice, a dish from West Africa, is typically made with long-grain rice, tomatoes, chiles, onions, spices, and sometimes other vegetables in a single pot. When the original recipe they tried wasn’t popular with students, Kirby and his SAGE team asked community members for their recipes.

A parent originally from Kenya, who’s also a faculty member at the school, visited the kitchen and showed the SAGE team how to prepare the dish with the submitted recipe. “It was a huge success having the parent help,” Kirby said. The new jollof rice recipe was a big hit and is still in the menu rotation. Since then, community members have submitted more recipes that have become favorites at Principia, including Kenyan beef stew, fufu (a West African side dish of dough made from starches like cassavas or plantains), chapati (an Indian and East African flatbread), and mandazi (East African fried doughnuts).

As always, all recipes are reviewed and approved by SAGE Registered Dietitians, who check for nutritional balance and allergy accommodations.

Dan Maertz, General Manager at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, also uses student-submitted recipes, especially for the college’s Muhibbah Night. The annual celebration, named after a Malaysian word meaning unity among nations, includes a dinner, activities, and performances that represent all the different countries the college’s students are from.

Before the dinner, Dan and his SAGE team meet a few times with the college’s Muhibbah Club organizers. During the meetings, students can submit recipes and the group decides on the menu. For last year’s dinner, guests were able to start their meal with appetizers like blinchiks (beef-filled crepes) and fried potato samosas and end the night with desserts like Korean red bean cake and Armenian gata. Entrées included everything from chicken tamales and roasted street corn to grilled chicken shawarma, Russian potato salad, and chilled snow peas in a sesame-ginger ponzu.

Whether it’s a family classic, a traditional dish from their home country, or just something they think their school would enjoy, SAGE always encourages community members to submit recipes and promote diversity in the dining hall. Talk to your SAGE Manager if you’re interested in submitting a recipe.


Kenyan Beef Stew

Servings: 6

1 pound beef top round
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, cored and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
¾ cup canned tomato purée
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ⅔ tablespoons fresh peeled garlic cloves, minced
1 (4-inch) piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
3 medium carrots
2 medium potatoes
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1. To prepare ingredients: Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. Peel and dice carrots into 1-inch cubes. Wash and dice potatoes into 1-inch cubes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, season the beef with curry powder, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for best results.

3. In a blender, purée onion, tomato, bell pepper, and tomato purée.

4. Heat a pot with olive oil over high heat, and sear the beef on both sides until brown.

5. Add garlic and ginger; sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.

6. Add carrots, potatoes, and tomato liquid. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 40-45 minutes or until tender. Add water, if needed, to the stock.

7. Finish with cilantro right before service and serve hot.

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