The sound of sizzling oil grows louder, but the conversation continues among fellow Horned Frogs during TCU Foodie’s monthly dinner. The Foodie’s president experiments dipping coconut shrimp, seasoned chicken and herb-crusted pork tenderloin in batter and oil at Simply Fondue.
What started as monthly dinners with six TCU cousins, turned into an organization that aims to help educate TCU students about food.
Julia Arnold, a junior food management major, is one of the six who planned monthly dinners with her cousins.
“It’s just kind of refreshing to go out and just talk about each other’s day without being rushed,” Arnold said. “That time was really special to me.”
Her mom suggested she start a group on campus called Foodies, she said.
A foodie is a person who enjoys and cares about food very much, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
TCU Foodie’s mission is to explore the local flavors of Fort Worth, develop an awareness of the many facets that make dining a pleasurable experience and create an atmosphere of fellowship within the TCU community, Arnold said.
During Foodies monthly meetings, Arnold presents non-chain and specialty Fort Worth restaurants for members to vote on. Then, the group meets at the restaurant on a scheduled day.
During the dinners, members eat the chef’s recommendation and fill out a review based upon food, service, décor and atmosphere, said Vice President Leti Riquelme.
Foodies want to help students become more open to trying new foods from different ethnicities, said Riquelme, a food management major.
“Being in college, I think that not many people are open to experimenting a lot of new foods and ethnic restaurants. We kind of just choose what’s more convenient and easy,” she said. “I think going to these restaurants has opened up our minds in trying new foods and experiencing new cultures.”
Rich Pettitt, a junior geography major, writes reviews for the group after each restaurant and posts pictures on the Foodies Instagram account (@tcu_foodies). He said he spent five years eating out every night at restaurants because his family was renovating their kitchen.
“If anyone is an expert of eating out, it’s probably me,” Pettitt said.
Pettitt said he hopes to go to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California after he graduates. His goal is to get into the restaurant business. He said Foodies helps him with that endeavor.
“Foodies lets us go all across Fort Worth and try a million different things,” he said. “There are actually some really great places around Fort Worth that everyone needs to experience. That’ s why I’m writing the reviews and hopefully someone is going to see them eventually.”
“It’s nice because I’ve been to three different restaurants I’ve never been to before,” said Cortney Cockrell, a senior economics major. “The last restaurant we went to, Thailicious, is now my favorite Thai restaurant. It’s really nice to try different restaurants that you might not think of going to on your own.”
Arnold said the restaurant experience is not just about food but also about fellowship, slowly eating and being mindful of what you are having.
“We want students to take away a great appreciation and respect for cuisine and its cultural origins,” she said.
As the night comes to a close and chocolate fondues are flambéed tableside, Arnold’s first time visiting Simply Fondue showed her yet another new way of eating.
To join Foodies, log on to OrgSync and join “TCU Foodies.” There are no dues; however, students pay for themselves when eating at each restaurant.