By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Waterside Plaza took advantage of one of the last weekends of summer last Saturday to host an international food festival for residents of the complex as well as the public. Yenneca Ketzis, organizer of community activities for Waterside Plaza, helped put together the event, which featured cuisine from Germany, Greece, Spain, India, Italy and the United States.
Ketzis said that management had been working on the idea for an international-focused event for a while.
“We have such a diverse population at Waterside that we wanted to do something to reflect the culture of the community,” she said. “We didn’t have time for a potluck or a sit-down dinner kind of thing but we figured that anything involving food is a community building activity, so we figured we would host an event where people could come and mingle with neighbors.”
The original idea was to have a number of different vendors from local restaurants come to represent a number of different cultures but she said that since the event was put together quickly, there wasn’t enough time to find participants willing to make the trek to the plaza with all the necessary equipment. Luckily, the company that runs Waterside Plaza’s cafe, Robbins Nest, also has a catering company that was able to help out in a pinch.
George Gaspar, director of operations at the catering company, Robbins Wolfe, said that one of his intentions was to emulate the San Gennaro festival that happens downtown every September, so including the iconic sausage and pepper heros was a must. They were also able to get cannolis from Ferrara Bakery and those two together represented Italy. There were also Bavarian pretzels for Germany, empanadas to represent Spain, lamb souvlaki for Greece and pulled pork sandwiches to represent the United States.
“We thought about doing hamburgers and hot dogs for America but figured we would go with something a little more unique,” Gaspar said.