Foodies taste the flavor of growing success and expansion

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    Casual grab-and-go dinners were not enough for the founders of TCU Foodies.

    What began as a small group of TCU students united by their mutual love for food has grown into a group of 129 official members exploring the eateries of Fort Worth.

    According to TCU Foodie’s OrgSync, the group’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.”

    The vision began with Julie Arnold, a junior food management major who founded the group and is now TCU Foodie’s president. Arnold brought both the idea and the initial members to TCU Foodie’s first table.

    Arnold said she was inspired to form the group because she liked to eat out and wanted to discover new restaurants in Fort Worth.

    “I missed sitting around the table eating together because as college students we eat everything on the go,” Arnold said. “I enjoy sitting down and finding new restaurants to eat at.”

    Vice President Leti Riquelme, also a junior food management major, said she wanted to form the organization because she loved trying new food and encouraging students to expand their pallets.

    “As colleges students we always go to the same restaurants and don’t try new things,” Riquelme said. “I wanted to do that with other students who shared my passion for food.”

    Co-chair of Social Media Ryan Oehmke, a junior finance major, said the group’s passion for food has led to more members joining and increased recognition.

    “I think Instagram is one of the main ways people know about Foodies,” Oehmke said.

    Oehmke said new members and people abroad will send in their pictures to TCU Foodie’s who will share the picture to their 1,500 Instagram followers.

    “Any time somebody has a fantastic meal, somebody will take a picture and send it to foodies,” Mallory Robinson, senior strategic communication major, said. “So, restaurants want their food shown on our Instagram.”

    Riquelme said the organization attracts a diverse group of students from different majors, Greek organizations and countries from around the world such as Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador and Bolivia.

    “The diversity in the group really makes the group stand out from other student organizations,” Riquelme said.

    “You never know who’s going to show up and who you’re going to meet,” Arnold said. “I’ve met so many people and learned about the different cultures through eating and their cultural norms.”

    The varying backgrounds don’t stop TCU Foodie’s from gathering together for their monthly dinners.

    Each month, the secretary will send out an invitation to all members via e-mail and on the Facebook page asking for RSVPs to make the reservation.

    “It’s really relaxed,” Robinson said. “You can come whenever you want, and you can bring a friend.”

    The Foodies hope to further expand by creating a website this summer.

    To join TCU Foodies, simply log onto OrgSync and join “TCU Foodies”.