Wagyu beef pot roast from a meal kit

WSU Meal Kits: They’re What’s For Dinner

By Sue McMurray

If the question “What’s for dinner?” causes you stress, a new collaboration between Catering Services in the School of Hospitality Business Management (SHBM) and the WSU Eggert Family Organic Farm can help relieve some of that anxiety—at least on Fridays.

Carson College chefs Jamie Callison and Jason Butcherite, along with Eggert Farm manager Brad Jaeckel, are offering the best of WSU products and local farm-grown ingredients as take-home meal kits.

Most of the items are pre-chopped, pre-cooked, and just require heating. The kits serve two and cost approximately $30 to $50. Each kit contains an entrée, a starch, a vegetable and/or a salad and may be purchased at the Eggert Farm’s online store.

Orders must be placed by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. for pick-up the following Friday between 2 and 4 p.m. at the Eggert Farm located on Animal Sciences Road directly east of the main Pullman campus.

Showcasing the bounty of WSU

Catering Services takes great pride in showcasing local products, says Callison. This includes WSU’s premium beef, Cougar cheeses, organic produce, honey, grains, and the bounty from local community farmers and ranchers. Some meal kits also come in vegan and gluten-free versions.

“We really enjoyed the vegan version of the Thai kit,” says Pamela Tetarenko, a customer. “We will be keeping an eye on the weekly offerings and ordering another vegan meal kit in the near future.”

“You can’t be a good cook if you don’t have a good product,” Callison says. “The meal kits allow us to use up the inventory at the farm so there’s little waste, contribute something meaningful to the community, and bring in revenue to WSU.”

“The farm has been working with Catering Services for years, but we’ve always wanted to have more collaborative projects,” says Jaeckel. “This has been a great opportunity to help develop an alternative for creative partnership that gives our customers and community another fabulous product.”

Catering Services develops life and career skills

The kits are just one of Catering Services’ efforts to engage the community during the pandemic. Recent efforts included an omelet flip competition and a WSU’s Feast of Homes virtual alumni dinner. Prep for all catering efforts takes place in the state-of-the-art Marriott Hospitality Teaching Center located in the Carson College. Currently, Callison and Butcherite are preparing the meal kits while students are not on campus, but plans are in place for students to rejoin the catering team and help with the kit prep as soon as pandemic restrictions allow.

Under the direction of Callison and Butcherite, student employees gain valuable skills necessary for a successful career. Experiences include, but are not limited to, event management, marketing, product development, dining room management, culinary management, human resources, purchasing and receiving, inventory controls, menu development, finance, and soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and ethics.

“The experiences our students get are very unique,” says Callison. “Most internships only focus on doing one job. Here, students get to try out a variety of roles they have never done before in the safety of our teaching kitchen, guided by the mentorship of senior students as well as chef Butcherite and me. The impact of these experiences is seen in both their personal and professional growth.”