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Ferrum College students experience authentic Haitian food | Local News | thefranklinnewspost.com – Franklin News Post

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Ferrum College freshman Midoven Lormejuste, left, and Aladdin Food Services Director Levi Briggs discuss the final presentation of Lormejuste’s traditional Haitian meal.
Midoven Lormejuste takes a pan of hot plantains from the oven as part of a traditional Haitian meal.
Midoven Lormejuste, a student chef and freshman nursing major at Ferrum College, scoops his traditional gravy onto a bed of rice.
Steaming ovens were humming at the food, and the kitchen was buzzing with laughter and quick movements amongst the staff. In the background, the clanging of the cutlery against the stainless-steel pots could be heard as a whiff of the sizzling vegetables and fried plantains wafted through the air.
The scene was Ferrum College’s Franklin Dining Hall was lively and bustling as Midoven Lormejuste, a freshman, had students floating in to eat what was dubbed “The Haitian Station Takeover.”
Lormejuste, a nursing major and student chef, cooked up a heart-warming meal with his Haitian family recipe of Legum and Diri (rice with bean gravy and legume).
“The gravy is a tough thing to make. You have to really take care of that one,” he said.
While he worked, he talked about the dish.
“This ingredient requires way too much stuff,” he joked. “If I ever create a time machine, and I go back in time, I’m gonna have to talk to the person who created this dish. There are just too many steps and too many ingredients.”
The idea for the takeover came about when Lormejuste and Aladdin Food Services Director Levi Briggs were joking around.
“I was going around the dining hall making sure stations were ready for service,” Briggs recalled. “I don’t remember what we were first talking about, but I do remember ‘ML’ (Lormejuste) saying, ‘we should cook Haitian food’, and that rhyme: ‘Haitian Station Takeover’ just jumped into my head.”
Briggs told Lormejuste to pick a dish and bring in the recipe.
“He asked me if I was joking, and I told him, ‘No,’” Briggs said. “I also told him that he would be responsible for cooking the dish. ‘ML’ stepped up and brought me a recipe. Aladdin bought all the items on the list. We talked about his menu, set a date and he embraced the challenge.”
All in all, Lormejuste felt the meal went over well.
“The reactions that I got were amazing!” he said. “Everyone loved it, and I will definitely do it again. I would wanna do better than the first time. I do have other recipes to share, but I would need to think about it.”
Briggs also felt the event came off smoothly.
“It was a great success,” he said. “We had students trying something new. ‘ML’ did a great job describing and teaching the diners about the recipe’s origin and why that dish was special to him. It opened a door for other students to step up and share food that has meaning to them.”
Jeffrey Maddy, a freshman whose parents are Haitian, also enjoyed the meal and praised its authenticity.
“Spot on!” Maddy said. “I wish Ferrum would do more food like this, like cultural food, because it would be much better for other people to experience it.”
The only drawback to the event, Lormejuste said, was in the cutlery.
“One thing that I was upset with was people using forks,” he said. “Because we weren’t Americans that day, but Haitians.”
Lormejuste qualified the statement, saying that generally, Haitians don’t use the utensil.
“We don’t really use forks because there is no use for it,” he said. “You were to mix everything up and scoop it to your mouth.”
Traditionally, he said, people use either spoons or their hands.
“It depends on your class in society,” he said.
The “class in society” and growing up in Haiti helped him choose the path of being in the medical field, Lormejuste said.
“I saw that health was the biggest issue we have—and poverty. I was like, ‘You know what? If I ever have the chance to do better, I need to have the knowledge of being in the medical [field], and hopefully one day, I can go back home and share that knowledge.’ That would make a big impact,” he said.
Meanwhile, the current avenue for getting back home is achieved through the international cooking.
“My hope is that the student is transported back to fond memories, and it shows that we care about them,” Briggs said. “This is one of the wonderful things about America—people come from all over the world and proudly share aspects of their culture.”
Lormejuste agreed.
“I was happy with how the meal came out,” he said. “It tasted like home.”
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Ferrum College freshman Midoven Lormejuste, left, and Aladdin Food Services Director Levi Briggs discuss the final presentation of Lormejuste’s traditional Haitian meal.
Midoven Lormejuste takes a pan of hot plantains from the oven as part of a traditional Haitian meal.
Midoven Lormejuste, a student chef and freshman nursing major at Ferrum College, scoops his traditional gravy onto a bed of rice.

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