Students who frequent Scripps College’s Malott Dining Commons for burritos, impossible burgers and kombucha were able to experience a different type of cuisine last week.
In an event called “Flavors of Chile,” guest Chilean chef Cristian Rubilar prepared several dishes from his home country over the course of Oct. 3 and 4, including plates such as porotos con riendas (a boiled bean dish), estofado de vacuno (a traditional beef dish) and manzana asada al vino tinto (baked apple in Chilean wine) for dessert.
Rubilar, who’s been a chef for 12 years, is currently making his way across the western United States as the Chilean Ambassador for Sodexo’s Global Chef program.
The program allows 12 Sodexo chefs from around the world to travel throughout the United States for four weeks, cooking in cafes and dining halls for which Sodexo provides food service, according to Sodexo’s website. Scripps is one of them.
So far, in addition to Scripps, Rubilar has visited Disneyland, Loyola Marymount University and the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, he said via email. Next, he’s off to New Mexico State University, and then he will wrap up with stops in Honolulu, Chula Vista, California and San Antonio, Texas.
“My favorite place [I’ve visited] so far has been Scripps College,” Rubilar said. “It was an amazing experience. [I have] a great desire to come back and work with [Scripps] again.”
He also said his interaction with students was a “good opportunity for them and myself to interact and get to know other cultures.”
On Oct. 3, Rubliar served porotos con riendas, pastel de choclo (a sweet corn dish) and tinto pastel de harina tostada (flour cake). The next day, he whipped up estofado de vacuno, palta rellena con camaron (stuffed avocado with shrimp), tomate relleno (stuffed tomatoes) and manzana asada al vino tinto.
Mae Garland PZ ’22 waited in the line for Rubilar’s food Oct. 3 and said it was “really worth the wait.”
Raye Gleekel PO ’21 also enjoyed the experience, especially since she had never had Chilean food before. She mentioned the shortcomings of American cuisine attempting to recreate other cultures’ foods, and why that makes Rubilar’s presence even more important.
“I think it’s fun to try foods from different places,” she said. “Probably the best way to do that is to have chefs come in who are skilled in making those, so it’s not as artificial as just an American take on that food.”
Some students had critiques as well, since Sodexo operates private prisons and has a history of allegedly mistreating its workers.
“This felt like Sodexo was trying to win me over, especially because I know their contract is about to end next year,” Dafina Matiku SC ’21 said. “So I believe that to some extent, they are trying to entice the students.”
If they want her support, she said, they’ll have to divest from private prisons.
Matiku said she is in favor of more cultural food events, but said, “this [event] didn’t feel genuine … because it was branded as a Sodexo initiative.”
She said, “We need better representation and people that actually stand for Scripps’ values.”