The Hungry Bull student-run vegan pop-up at JWU’s North Miami Campus.
GUEST POST: Culinary Arts/Food Service Management student Kelsey Carter + her student team recently fed 100 happy Miamians at the North Miami Campus’ first (but hopefully not last) vegan pop-up.
“For our final Food Service Operations Management [FSM 4061] project, my group decided we wanted to do a concept that was truly unique. We see a lot of Southern concepts, Asian concepts, and new American, but of course, everything is meat-based.
“Since I am a vegan, I suggested we try something that has never been done [at the North Miami Campus] before — an all-vegan restaurant.
“I proposed to the group that since our project requirements were that the restaurant is fast-casual, I wanted to stay away from complicated plating techniques, and serve something that was not intimidating.
“So we started developing the concept knowing that we wanted to serve the entrees in bowls. I thought of a funny pun name of ‘The VegetaBOWL.’ My friend who was with me during this stage kept mishearing ‘bowl’ as ‘bull’ and asked what the bull had to do with anything. I ran with it. The Hungry Bull, a complete meal-in-a-bowl concept.
From farm to table: Kelsey in the Edible Garden on campus. / Spinach dip with homemade flatbread.
“We researched cultures that had a bull as a symbol or icon, India, Asian countries, Greek and the American Southwest. We used those cultures as our flavor profiles for our entrees. We also created some pure comfort food dishes to ease non-vegan/vegetarian guests into trying our food.
“The biggest challenge came from making the menu vegan while still satisfying our omnivorous guests.
“From experience I know that foodies who eat meat tend to not like meat substitutes (tofu, seitan, textured plant proteins). So I minimally used those ingredients so as not to scare away the guests. So our ‘complete meals’ had to come from the menu’s combination of grains, beans and nuts.
The Hungry Bull mascot (taken from the menu card). / Various bowls, ready for service.
“The moment I was most proud of was when I read the comment cards from the guests. There were so many positive comments and great dining experiences shared on the cards, I felt like I succeeded at what my ultimate goal was: to serve vegan cuisine to all while not short-changing someone’s great experience.
“Do I think it will be a tradition? As much as I would love to see the next wave of students take on this challenge, I do not think it will be a tradition. I would not want to constrict the class’ creativity by requiring a 4061 class to do an all-vegan Earth Week dinner.
“However, I have now done two different dining experiences for Earth Week and I look forward to what future students can create!”
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The Hungry Bull team set 3 school records during the restaurant's run: the most seatings, the fastest turnaround, + the most turnaround in the history of the class. Of the 100 guests, 93 were satisfied non-vegans.