BYU-Hawaii Student Association leaders have added additional leaders and theatrics for their Food Fest booths in an attempt to offer students and the community the best quality food. The leaders said their associations, otherwise known as clubs or chapters, have had to organize committees, plan the menu, budget their ingredients, and plan ways to excite those in attendance about their food.
Wildon-Siegfried Coronel, a sophomore from the Philippines studying business management and president of the Philippines Student Association, said preparing for Food Fest has been a lot of work but it has been a good opportunity of growth for the club. He said, “In order to get everything done, delegation has been vital. Because of all the work that needed to be done, we added six officers to our original five and now have a total of eleven officers. We broke into four committees: food, media, budgeting, and set up/clean up. I am able to oversee what the committees are doing, but having additional officers to help run the committees has been a tremendous help.”
Coronel has appreciated the opportunity Food Fest has given the association to bond and become more unified. He said, “Rather than this being an opportunity for me to use my position as president to do everything, it has allowed our association as a whole to work in an equal way. We have been able to listen to many different ideas and decide as an association what will be best for us as a whole. Everyone has put so much effort into this event and that is so humbling to me.”
One of the biggest challenges for the associations is working within a specific budget to prepare the best food to represent them and their countries, student leaders said. Hwan Oh Koo, a senior from Korea majoring in business management and president of the Korean Student Association, said preparing for Food Fest has been exciting and challenging. “This past week, we have been really working with local stores to make sure that we can get all of the food that we need at the best price. Our biggest focus has been to make sure that we can get the highest quality meat that will have the best taste so those who come to Food Fest will get the true Korean food experience,” he said.
Rayndo Simanungkalit, a senior from Indonesia majoring in business management and president of the Indonesian Student Association, said the club decided to change the food they will be serving this year. In the past, he said, they always prepared an Indonesian pancake desert. This year, the chapter collectively decided to prepare Indonesian noodles and “happy soda” instead. He said, “We decided to take on a new challenge this year in preparing Indonesian noodles. The recipe that we have is great, and we know that people will enjoy our food. However, it is very difficult to find Indonesian food here in Hawaii. Tracking down ingredients and working with several different Indonesian vendors has been a challenge, but it will all be worth it come Saturday night.”
The association leaders said they are excited to share their cultures with the community through traditional food. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make sure that those in attendance have the best experience possible.
Aselaca Ramasima, a senior from Fiji majoring in hospitality and tourism management and president of the Fiji Student Association, said they have collected a committee of about 15 people to work with the food. “In order to avoid any unsafe food handling, we narrowed down to one committee within our association that was trained in proper food handling, and they will be the ones preparing the food. We have been shopping all week and cannot wait to start getting all of the food ready. The best Fijian food in Hawaii will be found at our booth at Food Fest on Saturday.”
In addition to displaying the food of their homelands, Food Fest is also an opportunity for students to share things that are specific to their countries and cultures. Koo said the Korean association is excited to announce that their theme for the night will be based on the Korean drama “Descendants of the Sun.” The men will be wearing Korean military attire and the women will be wearing a nurse gown. He said, “The male characters in the show are in the military, so we had all of the guys in the association get their military uniforms shipped over from Korea. Each Korean man is required to devote two years to military service so we all had uniforms already. The main female character in the show is a nurse and the health center has been kind enough to let our girls borrow nurse gowns.”
Food Fest will take place in the BYUH Little Circle from 5:00-10:00pm. This year’s Food Fest will feature dishes from 15 different cultures, according to BYUHSA.