NORFOLK, Neb. - Northeast Community College students and staff are celebrating diversity the best way they know how - with food! Northeast, in partnership with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, is hosting Syrian chef, Aisha Al Saleh, of Omaha, as she works with chefs from Chartwells, the College’s dining service, to educate and prepare a cultural culinary favorite.
The event will be Wed., April 14, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Hawks Point, located in Northeast’s Path Hall on the Norfolk campus, 801 E. Benjamin Ave. The public is invited.
The event is part of the New American Arts Project, created by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska in 2016 in an effort to connect refugee artists to rural Nebraska communities. Northeast Community College was selected as one of the project’s traveling “pop-up” refugee presentations when Pam Saalfeld, chair of the college’s diversity sub-committee, applied online. The College’s IDEA sub-committee - Inclusivity-Diversity-Equity Alliance - has, among its goals, a commitment to expose the Northeast community to unique and diverse experiences such as this culinary exchange.
“I received the information from a colleague and knew we could really do something special, if given the chance,” Saalfeld said. “Once I received word that we were awarded this opportunity, I brought in our director of residence life, who coordinated with our director of dining services, to come up with this idea - The New American Culinary Exchange.”
Al Saleh, guest chef for the event, was born in Syria, where she worked as a chef. Political instability forced her and her family to leave Syria, making her way to Omaha a year-and-a-half ago. She has since started her own food truck, Zaytuna,, in Omaha, specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The New American Arts Project is made possible through the generous contributions of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Brittany Steigner, New American Arts Project Coordinator with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, is excited to bring this event to Northeast.
“We are excited to partner with Northeast Community College to provide this exchange of food, story, and culture in order to build community and foster a place of welcome,” Steigner said.