Priya Krishna uses simple dining hall ingredients to create her recipes.
College is often a time when students find their passions in life. Some people discover that they have a head for business, others for foreign languages.
Priya Krishna found the world of college food services.
“People do things like lacrosse in college, and I ended up doing dining halls,” Krishna, a recent Dartmouth College grad, says with a laugh. Her new book, “Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks,” promises readers that they can learn how to create tasty dishes by using ingredients found through their meal plans.
Krishna says her culinary experiments began shortly after she entered her freshman year. She was eating dinner with her older sister — a fellow Dartmouth alum — when she began wondering if other students would be interested in trying her improvised recipes. She decided to start of a regular column in the student newspaper. Each week, Krishna would share recipes for everything from chicken and waffles to Southern poutine.
One of her very first pieces — a column on how to make a quesadilla out of 75 cents’ worth of dining hall credits — became something of a campus sensation, and Dartmouth eventually hired Krishna to be a dining hall consultant. Krishna began to get more ideas about how to make campus food better as she learned more about the inner workings of the system. “Whenever I would visit friends at other schools, I’d make them take me to the dining hall,” Krishna recalls. “The best thing a dining hall can do is provide as many a la carte items as possible.” She points out that having options like a variety of sauces can really liven up a dish.
While campus food largely has a reputation for being less than stellar, Krishna says campus food often gets a bad rap: Author Priya Krishna Credit: Provided“Dining halls have largely been overlooked. But they are innovating at a really fast pace.” You’d think that someone so entrenched in the food world would have grown up cooking, but Krishna says that wasn’t quite the case during her childhood in Texas. “I did a lot of watching my mother cook,” she says. “I would sit perched on the counter doing my homework while she cooked.”
Although she’s left campus life behind, Krishna says her dining hall hacks have served her well in the real world. “I make some of the recipes really often,” she says. “I almost feel like I use them the same amount that I did in school.”