Hailing from places like Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Italy, Poland, Bosnia and a host of other countries around the world, Campus Dining staff are almost as international as the cuisine they offer. Faculty, staff and students can pick up dishes such as Vietnamese pho and spicy Thai and curry dishes at Star Ginger, tofu banh mi at Decio Cafe or lamb Guinness stew at South Dining Hall.
In addition to the international cuisine offered at its 20 locations across campus, Campus Dining offers countless unique international dishes through University Catering. The Moroccan earth bowl, gratin of gnocchi, shrimp and scallop pesto conchiglie, and sautéed chicken piccata are favorite dishes, and Irish, Mediterranean and Mexican buffets are standard menu options.
Several Campus Dining leaders bring international experience and a diversity of culinary tastes from around the world.
Chris Abayasinghe, senior director of Campus Dining, who is from Sri Lanka, grew up as the son of a diplomat. His family moved often, from Tehran (Iran) to Indonesia and the Philippines with stints throughout Africa and the Middle East before arriving in the U.S.
He says, “The part that always connected us as a family — living in one country one year, and who knows where the next — was the access to great food and new tastes. It was just the simple things like that.” His experiences living around the world gave him a unique appreciation for the diversity of cultures and cuisines that our international faculty, staff and students now enjoy.
In 2017, the University recruited Sunil Yaradi, director of University Catering, who grew up in India and earned an MBA in Australia. Yaradi uses his international perspective and experience to bring creativity and freshness to menus and food presentations, which sometimes integrates international flavors with the guest experience.