Celebrating graduates in the time of physical distancing requires creativity. From drive-in ceremonies to socially distant celebration parades and video parties, finding a way to make graduation meaningful and memorable without the familiar trappings is a challenge. The Bon Appétit team at Washington University in St. Louis, aka WUSTL Dining Services, wanted to offer the Class of 2020 something special to remind them of their time on campus and to take with them into the world. As culinary professionals, the perfect gift seemed obvious: recipes!
Executive Chef Patrick McElroy, Research and Development Chef Sara Cox, and Marketing Managers Brittni Walters and Rob Staggenborg got to work. They gathered a list of students’ favorite recipes based on their cafés’ most popular dishes and the most requested recipes by students, and adjusted the portions and preparation instructions for home cooks. (No one needs brownies for 48 right now!)
Recipes in the 17-page “Recipes You Love” ebooklet include Ibby’s All Nighter Mocha Cookies (think lots of chocolate, plus a boost of espresso); spice-rubbed salmon barbacoa tacos; and Global Chef Sona Kukal’s famed chicken tikka masala, which is so popular that Sona took to Facebook for a short how-to video on how to prepare it for students who missed it while sheltering in place.
The university helped the team email “Recipes You Love” to all of the graduating seniors as a congratulatory gift with a sweet message about how proud WUSTL Dining was of the graduates’ accomplishments. They hope these dishes become part of the students’ own repertoires, reminding them of their “home away from home” for four years.
—Submitted By Brittni Walters, Marketing Manager