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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

An Open Table

An+Open+Table

By: Steele Smith, Staff Writer

Opportunities to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal are often scarce for college students. Chances to cook prove themselves to be even more difficult to find. Hisham Qadri ’19 has made it his personal goal to make those types of opportunities a little easier to come by at Wofford. He has begun opening up his dining room table in his apartment at Drayton Mills Lofts to four Wofford students a month, allowing them to come and have a meal he prepared.

He explains his interest in starting this tradition: “[It] sort of evolved out of nothing. Over the years I watched Gordon Ramsey, a lot of food shows and Hollywood movies about Michelin Star chefs. I thought, ‘You know, I can cook. I want to learn how to cook. Maybe not to their caliber, but I can try.’”

Inspired to improve his skills in the kitchen, Qadri challenged himself to create a high quality dining experience for four students per month.

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“I did the first soft opening in January,” he says. “We made a seared scallop with a cucumber lemon vinaigrette for an appetizer and for the main entre I made pan-seared salmon in a lemon and butter sauce with pan seared asparagus. For desert, I made a mixed berries and fresh cream compote. It turned out pretty well.”

Qadri had a few friends be his taste testers for the first meal, but he wants to expand the opportunity so that any Wofford student can taste his cooking.

“I figured the first people who would have to try it would be my roommates, because you can force them to eat it. Then, my friends. Over time, the goal is to find a way to put it up online for any Wofford student to bid for a seat.”

He attributes much of the influence and inspiration for what he chooses to prepare on the recent weather.

“A lot of the entrees that I made on the first night aren’t traditional winter dishes. You don’t really make lemon butter vinaigrette in the winter time,” he says. “You would want something a bit heartier. But the weather has been crazy so it already feels like summer some days.”

Deserts, Qadri says, are, by far, his favorite dishes to make at the moment because he believes that everyone has a sweet tooth. Additionally, Qadri said that he feels food is a way to expose people to different cultures, to have important discussions and to promote open-mindedness.

“Food has always been that unspoken language that people can use to communicate,” he says. “When you look at the best chefs in the world, the most common thing you’ll find among them is that they find a way to exhibit their own culture and they find a way to blend their culture with the rest of the world to make it accessible. I think that is the key to truly making something unique: finding a way to expose it to other people.”

Qadri, an Indian American, finds cooking to be an exploratory activity. It gives him the chance to explore styles and flavors outside of the ones he has experienced all his life. He finds his creation of each dish to be an opportunity to grow and learn.   “If food is a way to make us more connected as a world, then I’m down for that.”

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