Students prepare meals for capstone course

Seniors Kelsey Nance and Chelsea Watkins help fellow student Sarah Guthrie prepare for her themed meal Wednesday morning in the Oakley Dining Room located in Oakley Applied Science. || Savannah Sawyer/The News

Seniors Kelsey Nance and Chelsea Watkins help fellow student Sarah Guthrie prepare for her themed meal Wednesday morning in the Oakley Dining Room located in Oakley Applied Science. || Savannah Sawyer/The News

The air is beginning to cool, sweaters, jackets, and scarves are being pulled from the back of the closet and everything edible is pumpkin flavored. Fall is here and the students studying nutrition, dietetics and food management at Murray State are putting their favorite fall comfort foods together for everyone to enjoy.

Students and community members alike came together Wednesday to enjoy some delectable fall comfort food created by Murray State students.

Each week a different student in the class, meal management, has the opportunity to create a themed lunch for anyone to enjoy. This is the capstone class for students studying nutrition, dietetics and food management.

Unlike the typical classroom setting, this course is hands-on.

“It is a lot of work but it’s really different,” said Beth Rice, assistant professor of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Management. “There are no tests, only papers to write in your reflection of your project. It’s a real intense upfront class.”

Students tend to agree with Rice. The class has a lot to offer because of the way it is taught.

“The experience is really great and I love the hands-on in this class,” said Chelsea Watkins, senior from Paducah, Ky. “It’s not just coming in and doing bookwork. You really get to know everybody in your class.”

Creating meals is not as easy as one may think. There is a lot of work students put forth in order to create their meals.

The must serve a three course meal including an appetizer, main course and a choice of desserts. Their main course has to be an entree and two sides. Then for their dessert course, they have to provide a choice of deserts. One can be anything they want it to be, the other one has to be under 120 calories. So that can be challenging at times.”

Last week, Watkins was the student who served her meal to the public.

“Time management was the most challenging because your guests come at 11:30 a.m. and they expect to be served,” she said. “They don’t want to have to wait because a lot of people have classes.”

On Wednesday, Sarah Gurthrie, senior from Wilmore Ky., had her food featured in the Oakley Dining Room. She went with the theme of “Fall Into Comfort.”

“Autumn is my favorite season,” she said. “The warm comfort that you experience in the fall. I wanted to bring that to other people. It’s comfort foods. You’re getting that home experience.”

Aside from planning the menu and picking a theme, students must purchase the food in bulk.

“It’s a combination of a lot of the classes we’ve taken throughout the years,” Guthrie said. “You not only have to do the recipes, come up with a theme but organizing how much food to buy and the production and the costs and organizing your classmates.”

Another challenging aspect of the project is assigning the crew, which consists of the other members of the class.

Guthrie said trying to relate to her classmates was difficult because as a boss you need to be nice but you also need to make sure the food it made correctly.

Students who have yet to take their turn are looking forward to learning from the other students before them.

“I like that I’m doing it at the end because I get to learn from everybody, like what worked for people and what didn’t work for people and plan accordingly,” said Kelsey Nance, senior from Murray. “By the end you get to see who’s stronger in a certain area.”

For Nance’s project, she plans on using Pinterest as her general theme.

“Pinterest has everything on there so you wouldn’t think it would be hard but I?found it difficult to stay within our guidelines and still get what I thought people would enjoy,” she said.

Each week different students will create their own meals, themes and staff, while anyone in the community is welcome to attend for $7.50. Call the student desk for a reservation ahead of time at (270) 809-3387

Menus are posted online at murraystate.edu/oakleydininghall where the menus list what they’re serving, recipes as well as the nutritional information of their meals.

Story by Savannah Sawyer, Assistant Features Editor.