by Chef Jason Ostroski, Food Service Director

Can you think of any other subject on Earth that is a better metaphor to showcase diversity than food? There is an almost infinitely broad spectrum of differences and minute subtle variances in the food of cultures all over the world… country to country … state to state … city to city … all create the broader strokes of diversity. Religious influences, local ingredient availability and even family traditions can create the more subtle differences.

You can imagine that every table in the world could have a uniquely diverse arrangement of food and drink based on the recipe created by the people and hands that bring the food to the table.

Food is what sustains us physically … but the diversity … the uniqueness of each one of us as people… is what sustains us emotionally and even spiritually.

During my tenure here in the kitchen … 23 years and counting … we have hired International students from all over the world to help support our kitchens (not to mention the other departments here at Camp). The J1 travel visa these students come to us on, is actually based on a cultural exchange type of program. The list countries of origin of the folks I have worked with seems endless … or at least so many that I can’t remember them all but just to name a few, how about … Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica, Zambia, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Colombia, Paraguay, Turkey, Mauritania, India, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ghana, Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Belarus … whew … I think I got all of them … and I apologize to my former staff members if I missed any!

While at work in the kitchen, I encourage any staff members to create any dishes from their home country and culture that they wish and I’ll make sure I procure the ingredients for them to do so. Desserts are especially a fun one and always a big hit. Last year we had a baker from the Dominican Republic make a cream filled sandwich cookie … a specialty back home … and absolutely delicious!