Dining Services expands plant-based culinary offerings

By Isabella Nicosia, CUB communications

PULLMAN, Wash. – Chefs are introducing more plant-based options at Washington State University dining centers following a recent training program.

“We developed a ramen broth, and we are going to develop a curry broth,” said Adam Koerner, executive chef in WSU Dining Services. “We have also worked on coconut brown rice and cauliflower fried rice. We are taking as many recipes as we can and getting them into production so we can start implementing them.”

WSU dining staff gather to sample plant-based dishes.

After attending a conference focused on plant-based foods, Koerner sought to bring the training to WSU chefs. The Forward Food Culinary Experience was led by Ken Botts, food and nutrition manager for the Humane Society of the United States.

“Plant based eating is smart; it’s the intelligent thing to do for not only your body but for the environment,” said Sarah Larson, Dining Services associate director. “The more this message is out there and resonates with people, the more people will try foods they wouldn’t have tried before.”

“Educating chefs at universities about plant-based food options empowers them to get creative in the kitchen by adding delicious plant-based items to the dining program in a way that gets students, faculty and staff excited about the food,” Botts said.

During training, chefs try approximately 45 different recipes. Participants discuss why the food is in demand and how other universities have successfully introduced plant-based menus.

For those who want to implement plant-based options into their diets outside of the dining centers, Dining Services will share recipes and scale them down to specific needs.

“We’re always looking for input and student feedback,” Koerner said, “Our doors are always open.”