Lee University's Dining Services will feature Slovenian chef Toma� Slatnar during lunch today as well as Tuesday dinner in Deacon Jones Dining Hall. This will be an opportunity for the campus community to experience Slovenian cuisine.
Slatnar has been working with food service corporation Sodexo for 20 years and served as the executive chef at Ljubljana, Slovenia's 5-Star Hotel Lev. Lee University will be Slatnar's second destination in the U.S. after visiting Belmont University last week.
“We're excited to be able to bring Toma� to campus and then have the campus community taste some of the cuisine that will be [prepared] for us,” Sodexo and Lee Dining Service General Manager Tim Tenon said. “I think it will not only be an educational experience for people but that they'll [also] enjoy being able to taste authentic food from that part of the world.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to sample several different Slovenian dishes and speak with Slatnar and learn more about Slovenian culture during the course of their dining experience.
“We're going to give him plenty of room and let him be showcased out front [to] meet students and answer questions,” Executive Chef Richmond Flowers said. “He's going to walk us through the dishes and then my staff will be behind the scenes actually producing the dishes and putting them out.”
While Slovenian cuisine is similar to American dishes, it tends to feature different garnishes, such as lemon balm leaves and parsley root. The dishes also tend to be “dressed up more as in northern France or northern Italy,” Flowers said.
Selections for Monday lunch and Tuesday dinner will include an appetizer course, soup or stew, entr�e, side dish and dessert.
“I believe that this campus community will truly welcome him and be impressed by the items that are going to be prepared,” Tenon said. “As part of this program, we're going to be playing music and videos of Slovenia, and [Slatnar] is bringing music, pictures and videos from his homeland as well.”
Slatnar's visit to Lee is the first event of its kind to be held on campus through Sodexo's Global Chef Program. The program seeks to connect chefs from around the world to others who can experience their authentic, native cuisine.
“I'm excited to meet [Slatnar] and to offer up what we have special here,” Flowers said. “To be able to involve another culture from an expert in that culture is a big opportunity, not only for me and my professional development, but for our campus and community.”