Elliott Dining will serve pulled pork nachos and other dishes as part of Foodie Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Foodie Friday, which happens on the third Friday of every month, serves a unique dish that's cooked in front of the students. Stepfanie Miller // Photo Courtesy
Foodie Friday allows chef to be creative, connect with students
Looking for some good food?
Today, Elliott Dining will serve breaded pork loin with smoked bacon gravy and mashed potatoes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of Foodie Friday, which takes place on the third Friday of every month.
Foodie Friday was started in fall 2015 and features a unique dish that is cooked in front of students, such as creamy pumpkin pasta or pulled pork nachos. Chef Stepfanie Miller started at Ball State’s Quiznos in 2012 before becoming the chef at Elliott.
Next Foodie Fridays: Jan. 20 and Feb. 17
“I wanted to have the opportunity to do some display cooking and to expose students to something they may not have heard of or tasted before,” Miller said. “All-you-care-to-eat locations like Elliott Dining pay close attention to the types of food they serve on a daily basis because of the quantity offered at a fixed price. The monthly Foodie Friday concept allows us to infuse menus with unique variety while keeping the cost at the meal equivalency. I really enjoy it when students are able to have a unique experience in their school day. It's also a fun way to kick off a weekend.”
For Miller, doing the cooking display is the most important aspect of Foodie Friday. She said a lot of students may not realize there are culinary-trained chefs on campus, so she wanted an opportunity to allow students to interact with their chef.
Foodie Friday has also allowed Miller to connect with both Ball State and Indiana Academy students on a more personal basis, she said, and some even run from their classes so they can be first in line on Foodie Friday, no matter what Miller is serving.
“Sometimes when you serve in everyday large batches, you can lose the personality of the food and the people who make it. Preparing individual orders at Foodie Friday allows me to personally share with others what made me become a chef in the first place — a love for food,” Miller said. “As a chef, I start with a blank canvas each day and if I'm able to bring some joy and happiness to the campus community by doing what I love to do, then I am thrilled."
Future meals will include lobster, chorizo and fried green tomatoes. Miller said she is also excited to make entrées such as jerk chicken breast and Caribbean cous cous with tofu next semester. Miller’s inspiration for her dishes come from normal items that she then puts her own spin on.
“Last month, I made a creamy pumpkin pasta dish. Most people hear 'pumpkin' at this time of year, and they think of sweet items. I made a savory pumpkin dish and exposed a lot of people to the savory side of pumpkin,” Miller said. “Sometimes I see something on TV and try to create it in my own way. Other times, I take some inspiration from my colleagues on campus and put a twist on what they have done before.”
Over the summer, Elliott Dining underwent renovations, such as adding a center beverage and a condiment and dessert bar and removing a divider wall. The changes, Miller said, have been a plus for Foodie Fridays.
“We wanted a more modern, warm look, so the new décor reflects that and makes it a more welcoming environment … to improve the overall appearance of the dining area and make it more appealing to our students,” dining director Karen Adkins said. “Soft seating and fire places were added. Students have the opportunity to gather and enjoy each other’s company within a warm and wonderful location.”