Valley Cafe Offers Culinary Delights from Around the World

Tired of the same old lunch? Dining Services offers delicious new options

Every Tuesday afternoon from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, the Valley Cafe brings new and exciting cuisine to the palettes of Marist diners. The Valley Cafe is a unique dining option offered in the Cabaret lounge during this one lunch slot, for the cost of one meal swipe. Instead of taking their swipe to the dining hall or one of the many regular Marist Cafes, once a week, students can switch things up by spending that on a ticket to the Valley Cafe.

Every week the masterminds behind the Valley Cafe pick a theme and design a meal around that idea. A lot of themes surround authentic cuisine from a certain culture or country, which have recently included France, Korea, and Vietnam. Some weeks put a deliciously gourmet spin on diets to promote vegetarianism or heart health, while others focus on variations of a specific popular dish, like waffles or grilled cheese.

Either way, no two themes--and no two weeks--are alike at the Valley Cafe. If one week's menu does not appeal to the preferences of a picky eater, they will certainly be pleased by one of the many diverse weeks to come.

Similar to the dining hall, it is buffet style, so diners can keep coming back for more helpings throughout the afternoon. A long spread of options fill steaming trays that line up along the windows in the Cabaret. A few of their staples, which adjust to fit the theme of the week, include a salad, soup, flavored drinks and two dessert options. And of course, the spread would not be complete without multiple entrees. "[The Valley Cafe meals] are pretty substantial," said Catering Chef Jorge Rodrigues. "Usually they are about a six-course meal."

Additionally, this substantial meal is made from quality ingredients, straight out of the Hudson Valley. According to the Valley Cafe web page, "all ingredients used in preparing the meals are purchased locally and regionally, whenever possible, from local farms and distributors such as Hudson Valley Fresh, Fair Weather Acres, Szawowski Farms, Purdy & Sons, Fresh Point Connecticut, Cecchi Farms, Long Plains Farms, Winter Sun Farms and more."

A great deal of time and effort goes into the preparation of the food at the Valley Cafe. Chef Anthony, the driving force behind the Valley Cafe, spends all week putting together the spread for this special meal.

"The Valley Cafe itself is actually hand-picked by the Chef--Chef Anthony," explained Rodriguez, who also works on the meal for the Valley Cafe. Other members of the staff, like Rodriguez, spend the week assisting Chef Anthony, putting together the menu and bringing that meal to life. It often takes days to source specific ethnic foods that can not be found in the regular dining hall, and just as long to prepare certain parts of the meal. "Some dishes take a full day or two of prep," confirms Chef Rodriguez.

With such unique flavors and atmosphere, a lot of Marist students and faculty take advantage of the opportunity to experience the Valley Cafe every week. Dedicated diners religiously fit the meal into their schedule and line up at the entrance to the Cabaret. The chefs plan to feed 150 people and sell a run-off of that many tickets before closing their doors. So far this semester, every event has reliably sold out.

Chef Rodrigues thinks that the Valley Cafe has become so popular, because of the exceptional and exciting quality of the food. "It's a lot of fresh stuff but it's also a lot of unique ingredients to the specific cuisine," he says. "That is kind of our biggest variable, is the uniqueness of what's there." As in all of Marist's dining options, the Valley Cafe serves up meals made from fresh, and often locally sourced ingredients. But the Valley Cafe, in its special style, takes these ingredients and brings a unique experience to the plates of Marist diners.

Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18

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