Rebecca Clark, For The Miami Student

Miami University’s Dining Services recently held a contest to find a healthy new recipe, which will be featured at dining halls. The contest called for students to submit pictures and recipes of their favorite foods to Miami Dining’s Twitter page, and the winners have been chosen.

According to executive chef, Eric Yung, the contest ran until March 27 and generated numerous recipe submissions incorporating a variety of different foods.

“We did an appetizer or salad, entrée and dessert category,” Yung explained. “Not surprisingly, most of them headed for the appetizer or salad choice. We awarded two winners in the appetizer, salad category. Both of the recipes were really good looking choices. We also awarded one winner in the entree category.”

The winning recipes, a feta and roasted vegetable quinoa submitted by senior Rose Kaplan, a sliced avocado and onion salad submitted by senior Elliott Batchelder and sautéed kale with onion and mushroom submitted by senior JaMalle Flournoy will be featured the week of April 20 to 26.

“The quinoa will be featured for three consecutive days in a buffet location as a composed salad,” Yung said. “We’ll have free samples of the avocado and onion salad at Panache on Wednesday, April 24 and it will be a featured salad the next three days. The sautéed kale will be at Spice of Life.”

Flournoy, a nutrition major, said he gets his inspiration from online food bloggers.

“Once I get recipes from bloggers, I make them into my own by substituting ingredients and adding my own flair with different spice combinations,” Flournoy explained.

Kaplan said she simply created her recipe using whatever she had in the fridge.

“I saw I had some peppers and zucchini, as well as some tomatoes and feta and decided all of that would taste really great combined in a salad with quinoa,” Kaplan said.

There were several different ways Yung and his team of culinary staff members judged the submissions.

“The recipes themselves have to be ones that we will be able to produce in our operations and be able to produce in a way that we would be okay for the department as a sanitation or food safety,” Yung explained.

Another important factor for the team was how the recipe would taste.

“There is also an acceptance component to it as well,” Yung continued. “Even if it looks really good, is it something that when we put it together, it would have the ability to impact the highest percentage of students? Is it something that we can recreate and fold into our existing rotation of recipes? We may see one or more of the winning recipes next year.”

By asking Miami students to submit pictures and recipes of their favorite healthy dishes, Jon Brubacher, manager of purchasing and operations analysis of Miami’s Housing and Dining Services, said he hopes the contest will promote healthy eating.

“The contest is focused on nutrition since this is National Nutrition Month,” Brubacher said.

Yung agreed, saying some submissions looked like they would taste very good but were not able to be used because of their low nutritional content, including the dessert entries.

“A lot of students reach out to us throughout the year and say that they’ve got some ideas for a healthy dish that we can put together and feature,” Yung explained. “So this contest gives us great insight as to what is in the mind of the students right now.”

As nutrition majors, Kaplan and Flournoy both felt it was important to partake in this contest. Kaplan is also majoring in dietetics and already has a recipe published in one of celebrity cook, Rachael Ray’s, cookbooks.

“I love to cook and love to eat healthy, so everything I create centers around that,” Kaplan said. “When I cook, I load my dishes up with as much vegetables as I possibly can. These add a lot of bulk to a dish for a small amount of calories.”

Flournoy also had nutrition in mind when creating his dish.

“As a nutrition major, I’ve always wanted there to be healthier options for college students,” Flournoy said. “I think my dish promotes healthy eating because it’s an unfamiliar food that has recently gotten a lot of attention in the press for its health benefits. The sheer simplicity of my dish also shows students that it can be easy to eat healthy as well.”

Along with posters and table tents, social media played a huge role in advertising the contest, according to Mark Andrea, Dining Service’s manager of computing systems and marketing. The recipes and their pictures were submitted online to Miami’s Dining Service’s Twitter and Miami Dining’s Facebook page has been promoting the contest for several weeks.

“We have definitely plastered the contest all over our Facebook page and we’ve been fairly successful with social media in the past,” Andrea said. “We see more and more people like our page every day and we see the message getting out there.”