International and exchange students and McMaster alumni share dishes from home countries as part of Taste of Home initiative

Two students, one with their back to the camera, seated in front of a plate of food

Exchange student Marion Verzeaux (left) and international student Loi (Louis) Tieu’s winning recipes will be featured on a special menu in La Piazza as part of the Taste of Home initiative (Photos by Christian Braun/McMaster University).

For exchange student Marion Verzeaux, making crêpes is so much more than preparing something to eat — it’s part of a longstanding tradition.  

“We do it every Sunday night with my family at home. It’s the debate of ‘who will make the crêpes?’ Sometimes it’s my brother, sometimes it’s me,” says Verzeaux. “I think it’s the first recipe I learned to do with my brother as a kid.” 

Now, the DeGroote School of Business student and native of France is getting the chance to share a taste of her family’s tradition with the wider McMaster community.  

Two people, one holding a plate of food, and the other wearing chef's whites, smiling at the camera
Exchange student Marion Verzeaux with John Barreda, chef manager, McMaster Hospitality Services

Her crêpes will be on the menu in La Piazza inside the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) this week as part of Taste of Home, an initiative offered in partnership with McMaster Hospitality Services, Housing and Conference Services, Alumni Association and the Student Success Centre. 

As part of the initiative, international and exchange students and the McMaster alumni community were invited to share their favourite recipes that remind them of home. After a vote by McMaster community members, four dishes were selected to be featured as part of the Taste of Home menu.   

Loi (Louis) Tieu’s recipe for bánh mì (a baguette sandwich that can be filled with a variety of ingredients) will also be on the menu.  

The international student from Vietnam says sharing in food across McMaster’s diverse community presents a special opportunity.  

“We have chance to learn from each other and find the similarities and differences that could bring everybody closer,” says Tieu 

Two people, one holding a plate of food, the other wearing chef's whites, smiling
Loi (Louis) Tieu with John Barreda, chef manager, McMaster Hospitality Services

The initiative was borne out of the reality that not everyone will be able to go home for the holiday break, and that these dishes can be a source of comfort, as well as an opportunity to build community. 

“Taste of Home is a chance for us to highlight the diverse backgrounds of both students and alumni,” says Noor Ahmad, Alumni officer, Student Relations, McMaster Alumni Association. “Sharing treasured recipes from home is like sharing a warm hug back to our beloved campus community, no matter where our students/alumni are.” 

Two other dishes — a sour and spicy potato submitted by a student from China and a recipe for cabbage rolls submitted by an alumnus whose dish originated from Russia — will also be available throughout the week. 

“Food can be deeply connected to culture and can foster a sense of belonging,” says Gisela Oliveira, Associate Director, Skills Development and International Student Services (Student Success Centre, Student Affairs). “Taste of Home, now in its second year, is an opportunity to bring a piece of home to students and our broader McMaster community.”  

Taste of Home is happening as part of the Holiday Market, which includes vendors from student and locally-owned businesses, performances, festive decorations and evening events. The Holiday Market will be on this week from 1-7pm daily in the Arts Quad and MUSC Atrium. Learn more on the Student Success Centre website. 

The Holiday Market is offered in partnership by the Student Success Centre, McMaster Students Union (MSU), MSU Campus Events and Alumni Association.  

Learn more about the international dishes on the Taste of Home menu and what they mean to the students who submitted them:  

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