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Villanova Dining’s End of Semester Dinner

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Courtesy of Villanova Dining
Villanova Dining will host its End of Semester Dinner on Thursday.

As the weather continues to get colder and classes begin to wrap up, there is a buzz on campus that is not only about finals rapidly approaching and heading home for the holidays, but also for Villanova’s End of Semester Dinner, which is occurring on Thursday, Dec. 7. 

 

For those who have not yet experienced an End of Semester dinner, the menu whipped up for this event is completely different from what is usually served in Dougherty, St. Mary’s and Donahue Hall. This year, the menu contains items such as filet mignon, lobster orzo, French herb chicken breast, roasted shrimp, Tuscan stuffed mushrooms (vegan), a mashed potato bar, roasted brussels sprouts, baby carrots breads and spreads, which is an assortment of different breads and dips, in addition to the dessert extravaganza. 

 

Chef Chris Wiseley, who serves as the Executive Chef of Resident Dining Halls for Villanova University Dining Services, is responsible for menu development, recipe formation, culinary training and food quality on campus. He shared that his favorites from this year’s menu include the Tuscan stuffed mushrooms, lobster orzo, mashed potato bar and the wide variety of desserts.

 

Wisely explained a little bit of the work that goes on behind the scenes in the dining halls. 

 

“The preparation for this event starts with communication between the Dining Services chefs, cooks and management to design the menu and recipes each year,” Wiseley said. “Second is the sourcing of the products that the culinary team would need to prepare the menu. Once the products are sourced, the chefs prepare a tasting to try the recipes. They make sure the recipes taste good and are realistic to prepare for the four thousand meals that are served on this night in all three dining halls. Once the kinks are worked out of the recipes and everything tastes good, then we can solidify the menu and begin to advertise the event.”

 

This dinner is entirely different from eating a normal meal in any of the campus dining halls due to the elevation in food quality, wide variety of menu items, presentation and service. 

 

“It is a challenge to transform and decorate the dining halls into a festive celebration in the hour and a half that we have,” Wiseley said. “It is all hands-on deck.”

 

Though meals at the campus dining halls are normally all-you-care-to-eat, the End of Semester Dinner limits students to one portion of filet mignon and roasted shrimp. All the other menu items are all-you-care-to-eat, but when a guest swipes into the dining hall, they receive a ticket for a filet mignon and portion of roasted shrimp. 

 

Though Wisely is unsure of the exact number of years Villanova has been commemorating the conclusion of the semester with such a memorable meal, he knows it’s a decades-long tradition. 

 

“We have been having this special dinner for over 40 years,” Wiseley said. 

 

Though the dinner menu already sounds mouthwatering, the variety of dessert options is what many students also look forward to. Some of the offerings this year include tiramisu, gingerbread and lemon squares, mini s’mores bread pudding bites, salted butterscotch biundo (according to Wisely, “it is like a crème brulee.”), mini chocolate shooters, raspberry shooters (vegan), lemon shooters (vegan), mini gluten-free cupcakes, xangos (fried cheesecake rolled in cinnamon sugar) and Haagen-Dazs ice cream cups, among many other options. 

 

Though the fall End of Semester dinner is always looked forward to and well-received by the student body, it has evolved over time.

 

“[We’ve] developed into a more diverse street food menu because of the weather, and the food is not as heavy and has smaller portions served,” Wiseley said. “Last spring, for example, we served pork belly bao buns, chicken bao buns, roasted vegetable bao buns, lobster rolls with New England clam chowder, bulgogi beef with gochujang fried rice and barbacoa tostadas.” 

 

Savor a night delicious of flavors and commemorate the end of a demanding semester by attending the End of Semester dinner, which is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the holidays and celebrate in a festive atmosphere.

 

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