Monthly Archives: October 2016

Dining Hall Hacks

It’s the end of October and even with all the options at the dining hall, you find yourself going back for that same slice of pizza you got for lunch. If you’re looking for some tips on how to up your dining hall game, we’ve got your back. We found five recipes that will refresh your taste buds and save you from yet another dinner of chicken tenders and mac & cheese. All of the following dining hall hacks utilize food items available at the dining halls here on campus.

Not Your Freezer’s Pizza Bagels

If you’re feeling nostalgic for the bagel bites of your youth, this trick is for you. Grab a bagel and acquire your choice of shredded cheese from the salad bar. Grab some marinara sauce and spread it over your bagel. Top that with the cheese, and throw it in the microwave. After about two minutes, you should be kicking it back to your bagel bite glory days. Remember to clean up after yourself and don’t leave a mess in the microwave! This also works with english muffins.


(Almost) Portillos Cake Shake

If you’re looking for a sweet treat and missing Chicago’s favorite dog house, grab a cup for this next concoction. Mash up a piece of cake, pie or a cupcake inside. Add your choice of soft serve flavor (or do a twist). Add milk until you’ve reached your desired thickness. Mix it all up with a spoon. Due to the need for ice cream, this recipe can only be created at Harris Dining Hall or Martin Dining Hall.

Take a Dip!

If you’re looking to stay healthy and try new flavors, try this take on a Thai-style dip for grilled chicken or veggies. After cutting up some healthy and delicious grilled chicken or obtaining some broccoli, grab a few peanut butter packets and empty them onto your plate. Add some soy sauce and Sriracha until you have a thinner consistency for a fun update to this dining hall staple.

All Veggies, No Eggs … On Your Pasta

If your taste buds are getting a little too accustomed to buttered noodles, try adding broccoli and carrots from the salad bar to your next plate of plain pasta. Then, top with salt, pepper, and olive oil (which can be found at the salad bar). Don’t forget to finish it off with some parmesan cheese for your own, personal pasta primavera.

Chickey Chickey Parm Parm

For a dining hall take on a classic italian dish, look no further. Put breaded chicken (chicken strips, homestyle, etc.) on a bun. Grab a few slices of cheese, but leave them on the side for now. Get some marinara sauce and add hot sauce until you’ve reached your desired spice level. Put this spicy marinara on top of the chicken and layer the cheese on top of that. Now you’ve got a delicious, handheld chicken parmesan.


We hope you enjoy these easy dining hall hacks. Let us know what you think, and keep checking back here at The Miami Spread for more hacks as the semester progresses.


Recapping a Week of Halloween Dinners

Halloween is a holiday of creative costumes, spooky creatures, startling scares, and haunted houses. We hope everyone had the opportunity to take a break from school work and enjoy the special Halloween-themed menus available during our four Halloween dinners!

Monster Mash, at Garden Commons, kicked off the festivities on Monday, October 24. Martin Dining Hall hosted Club Villain on Tuesday, with Harris Dining Hall hosting Haunted Harris the next night. Western capped it off with Superhero Dinner on Thursday.

If you missed out, be sure to follow @MiamiUDining on TwitterFacebook and Instagram! Our Thanksgiving Bash is only a month away!

Monster Mash Dinner

October 24, 2016 – Garden Commons

Garden Commons hosted Monster Mash, which featured a station for mashed potato bowls and a variety of Halloween-themed goodies, including cupcakes, cookies and a “dirt” dessert pizza. Oh, and plenty of “Monster Mash” music was played.

Club Villain Dinner

October 25, 2016 – Martin Dining Hall

Club Villain took place at Martin Dining Hall with the highlights including “bat wing” boneless wings, “piranha” tilapia, “brain cubes” (tofu), and fried calamari. Halloween treats like apple cider soaked apples with caramel sauce, cupcakes, cinnamon roll pizza and more were on hand to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.

Haunted Harris Dinner

October 26, 2016 – Harris Dining Center

Haunted Harris, at Harris Dining Hall, featured “bat wing” wings, ice cream floats, “road kill” stew, and more. Of course, the Halloween-themed sweets were plentiful with vegan pumpkin pie, cookies and cupcakes on the menu.

Superhero Dinner

October 27, 2016 – Western Dining Commons

Western Dining Commons hosted the final Halloween dinner of the week with Superhero Dinner. Between “Avengers” tater tot casserole, “The Incredible Hulk” braised kale, and a variety of other “super” menu offerings, guests had an excellent assortment of food to fill their plates. Of course, there were plenty of Halloween sweets as well, highlighted by superhero cookies and cupcakes.

Thank you again for joining us at our Halloween dinners! We had a blast hosting them!

Staff Spotlight: Alex Ovia

Alex Ovia describes himself as laid-back, easy-going, focused and serious.

When you sit down and speak with Ovia, you quickly realize it’s an apt description of the new general manager at Garden Commons.

Ovia isn’t new to Miami University. He’s in his 18th year on campus, spending his first 17 at Bell Tower Place in the same role. While Garden Commons is only a short walk from Bell Tower, the shift isn’t without some adjustment as Ovia now oversees the operations of not only the busy Garden Commons buffet, but also Garden Market and Dorsey Market.

There’s a little bit of challenge knowing the different market and the different clientele here,” said Ovia. “Obviously, I’m up to the challenge.”

Ovia is quick to point out that he isn’t alone though. The work his staff puts in is invaluable, including the work done by student employees and student managers who are often rotating across different stations and must be flexible and adaptable.

“Without the student help, we wouldn’t make it,” said Ovia. “They’re very resourceful and are a tremendous help to our organization and to our team. I am really excited working side-by-side with them, along with my staff, employees and team. They’re a very, very important element of our business.”

Like many students who work during their college years, Ovia got his first taste of working in food service during college where he worked as a busboy and a cook before taking an interest in management. After college, he worked at Bob Evans for nearly 12 years in a management role and moved to Miami in 1998, to work at the newly constructed Bell Tower Place.

Ovia is focused and driven professionally, but he doesn’t let work consume him.

“Family is very important to me. I’ve been married for 26, 27 years now … my wife is going to kill me,” said Ovia with a smile. “If I have to say my preference, I’d say God first, family and then work. So, that’s just very important to me.”

Ovia attends church, values family time with his wife and three kids, and finds time for some of his other hobbies, including “football” (soccer), ping pong, watching American football and, most importantly, traveling.

“Oh, I love traveling,” said Ovia, who is originally from Nigeria. “My favorite place in the states is Arizona, specifically Sedona. It’s very, very peaceful. My wife and I went to this rural forest area. You could drop a pin and you could hear the sound of the pin drop. It could just connect to your soul and spirit. We were just there and just relaxing. I will never forget that, really. It was so beautiful.”

While Ovia’s serious approach is invaluable in directing his team, it’s his easy-going nature and appreciation for new opportunities that allow him to thrive with the diverse people who work at – or visit – Garden Commons.

“I love my guests,” said Ovia with a grin. “Those are the kind of people that put a smile on my face. I love my guests. The students I interact with. The student managers that we help to shape their futures. I think we are very special here at Miami.”

Whether interacting with customers or working with staff, Ovia enjoys what he does and enjoys the challenges that come with the job.

“At the end of the day, when you know that your customers, your students, your staff, your parents and your management team is satisfied, you go home knowing you accomplished something that day.” said Ovia. “It makes you feel good.”

The Hard Questions

Favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

PrepareOh boy, I have to go back home. I’m originally from Nigeria, West Africa, so it’s called jollof rice. It’s a mixture of rice, sauce, all the spices you want … curry, thyme … just mix it and you can use beef or shrimp or whatever mix you want. It’s similar to stir-fry rice.

EatWell, I grew up eating a lot of carbohydrate food like rice, beans, meat, steak and stuff like that. One thing I don’t really eat a lot of is sweets. We’re not a big fan of cake, dessert and we don’t eat a lot of that. I don’t care too much for it.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I like action movies. “X-Men” … movies like that. There’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” That’s what I’m watching on TV right now.  

Cat or dog? Neither, but if I had to choose, it would definitely be dog.

Cake or pie? If I have to choose, probably cake.

Wickedly Good Halloween Recipes

So many people stress over finding the perfect halloween costume, but when it comes to halloween snacks, they miss the mark. If this sounds like you, or you’re just ready to try something new this Halloween, try one of these recipes:

Don’t Tell Your Mummy (About This Brie)

Actually, maybe you should tell her because this delicious appetizer is so easy – and an instant hit to boot.

First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. While preheating the oven to 400℉, cut a sheet of pastry puff into narrow strips and wrap them around a wheel of brie like a mummy. Next, brush the puff pastry with an egg and milk mixture and place it on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the puff pastry is a deep golden and the brie is warm and gooey.

Place two mini pepperonis into two sliced olives, use these as the eyes, and that’s a wrap! Find the full recipe here. 

Brownie Bat Truffles

Chocolatey delights that will make your taste buds soar.

First, bake a pan of fudgy brownies and allow them to cool while you lick the bowl (don’t worry, we won’t tell). Then, line a pan with parchment paper and grab a large mixing bowl. In the bowl, use your hands to crumble the brownies. Mix in some chocolate frosting and knead until the entire mixture is evenly moistened.

Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to measure out about 1 Tablespoon balls of this mixture. Break an oreo in half and stick one half in each side to create the wings of the bat. Repeat this until you’ve used up all of your brownie/frosting mixture. Place each bat on the baking sheet and freeze them for approximately two hours.

Once the truffles are firm, melt some chocolate, wait about 15 minutes until they come to room temperature, and dip the truffles in. Decorate them as spookily as you please. You can find the whole recipe here… if you dare.

Frozen Boo-Nana Pops

These delicious treats won’t ghost you. 

These under-100-calorie treats will trick your taste buds with how delicious they are. After preparing a baking sheet with wax paper, quarter a banana, stick a popsicle stick in the end of each quarter- and freeze.

After they’ve frozen, melt white chocolate, dip the bananas in, and add milk chocolate chips for eyes. Pop the pops back in the freezer until you’re ready for a fright (or just a yummy snack). The full recipe can be found here.

Dracula’s Dentures

A dessert good enough to sink your teeth into.

After baking some chocolate chip cookies and letting them cool, cut them in half. Frost the bottoms of each cookie half and add six marshmallows along the curved edge of the halves.

Cover with the other cookie halves and put two almond slivers in between two pairs of “teeth” to make fangs. You’ll be getting too many compliments to count with this recipe.

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

This may sound cheesy, but making this is a ball.

Combine shredded cheddar cheese, regular cream cheese, onion and chive cream cheese, and paprika in a bowl. Cover this mixture and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Once the mixture is firm enough, shape it into a pumpkin-like ball. Remove the florets from a stalk of broccoli and shape it to resemble the stem of a pumpkin.

Slice up a few apples to pair with the cheese ball and serve to all the boys and ghouls at your Halloween gathering. 

13 Foodie Approved Halloween Costumes

1. Dunkin Donuts

“Three Pointer! Nothin’ but net” – Aaron Carter

What do you need? – Basketball Jersey, Pool Floatie, Basketball (any size)


2. Deviled Eggs

Hopefully your friends will get the yolk.

What do you need? – White T-shirt, yellow paper or felt cut into an oval, devil horns


3. Hawaiian Punch

Talk about a punch line.

What do you need? – Hula skirt or hawaiian shirt, lei, boxing gloves


4. Cereal Killer

Less H.H. Holmes, more Honeycombs.

What do you need? – Empty cereal boxes, plastic knife, fake blood (optional)


5. Pig In a Blanket

It’ll hard to be humble like Babe with a costume as great as this one.

What do you need? – Pig nose, pig ears, blanket


6. Spice Girls

Everyone will Wannabe in your squad.

What do you need? – Red Top Hat, Large paper with McCormick and Schmick spice label printed on it


7. Taco Belle

People will taco bout this costume all year.

What do you need? – Belle costume or yellow dress, your favorite Taco Bell order


8. Bag of Eminems

Better than mom’s spaghetti.

What do you need? – Trash bag, a variety of printed out pictures of Eminem


9. Sushi

With this costume, you’ll be on a roll.

What do you need? – A pillow striped with washi tape, a black strip of cloth


10. Croquembouche

Oh la la! This costume is à la mode.

What do you need? – Light brown fabric, pillow stuffing, sewing machine


11. Bag of Jelly Beans

They’re not jumping beans, but people will be jumping for joy when they see you.

What do you need? – Clear plastic bag, balloons, printed out Jelly Belly logo


12. Nutella

NuTELLa your friends about this fun idea.

What do you need? – Brown Shirt, Print out of Nutella Logo, White hat


13. Morton Salt Girl

Don’t be salty because you don’t have a costume. Try this.

What do you need? – Yellow dress, Mary Jane shoes, umbrella


Four Nights of Halloween Dinner


Guess what???

Halloween is almost here!


This year, we are happy to be hosting not one, not two, not three, but four special dinners to celebrate the beloved holiday of spookiness! Running from Monday, October 24 until Thursday, October 27, guests will have the chance to enjoy themed events that are sure to get you into the Halloween spirit!

So, pull out your calendars and plan on joining us for the spooky and fun activities! We look forward to seeing you there!

October 24, 2016 – 5-8pm – Garden Commons

Monster Mash Halloween Dinner


October 25, 2016 – 5-8pm – Martin Dining Hall

Club Villain Halloween Dinner


October 26, 2016 – 5-8pm – Harris Dining Center

Haunted Harris Halloween Dinner


October 27, 2016 – 5-8pm – Western Dining Commons

Superhero Halloween Dinner


Staff Spotlight: Chef Kiril Gallovitch

Chef Kiril Gallovitch is one of the new faces in Miami University’s dining services this year, stepping in as Miami’s corporate executive chef. Gallovitch, a native of Bulgaria with classical European culinary training, is tasked with overseeing the culinary side of dining operations, including the development of recipes, menus and more.

“My goal is to make the operation better because every dining operation around the world can reach the next level,” said Gallovitch. “My job is to motivate [dining staff] and provide clear goals for them to continually better themselves in what they’re doing.”

Gallovitch knew since he was a child that he wanted to be a chef, and with nearly 30 years of professional experience under his apron, he has accumulated an impressive background.

Following culinary school and hotel restaurant management college, Gallovitch worked as a chef tournant in Europe before moving to Las Vegas to work at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, predominantly doing banquets. Since then, he has worked as an executive chef at an upscale steakhouse, was a district chef at the University of Cincinnati for 10 years and, most recently, worked as a regional chef for a company called Legends, which is responsible for hospitality services at places like Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys) and other locations across the country.

The college dining scene, particularly Miami’s, is familiar to Gallovitch following his time with the University of Cincinnati where he paid close attention to Miami’s dining services.

“There are a lot of things that are different between Miami University and the University of Cincinnati, but there are still a lot of similarities,” said Gallovitch. “I’m used to dealing with students and parents, with making sure everything is in place and that everybody has a goal to reach.”

Gallovitch has settled in at Miami quickly. He enjoys being back on a university campus and has enjoyed familiarizing himself with Miami’s dining services.

“I like the fact that there are a lot of things established,” said Gallovitch. “We have a department here that deals with nutrition, with the special allergies and everybody in this department is focused and does their job very well. It’s very neat, in one operation, for everything to be so organized. It’s a very high-level program.”

Gallovitch can be found at different dining locations helping when necessary, sharing his expertise with dining staff or interacting with guests. Getting out on campus and participating in the front-line service is something he considers to be an essential part of his job.

“I don’t like being a paper chef,” said Gallovitch. “I have to stay in the office sometimes to do paperwork, but the interaction with the customers, the employees and the chefs whom I work with is very important. I prefer to be hands-on and to show things, rather than just provide a recipe or ask somebody to do something. I don’t mind teaching it. I don’t mind working in the kitchen. Whoever needs my help, by now, I think they know they can count on me.”

In his free time, Gallovitch reads a lot of cookbooks and magazines to keep up with culinary trends. He is always investigating new recipes and enjoys dining at places with interesting food as a way to conduct research.

Gallovitch finds the culinary aspect of his job the most compelling, together with the opportunity to engage with different people.

“I enjoy the interaction with people and making sure that I listen well to their needs and their expectations,” said Gallovitch. “I want to make sure that everything we serve is on a level that most people don’t expect when they come to dining locations. Expectations are very high for university dining and we have to make sure that we uphold these expectations.”

The Hard Questions

What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I want them to know that I am very approachable. They can come to me if there’s a problem because in order for us to fix anything, we have to know the problem. Somebody has to bring it up if there is something we don’t see or we’re working on, but it’s not accomplished yet.

Favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Prepare – Well, there are too many. I don’t know, but I like paella, a Spanish paella. Oh, what else. I also like authentic Chinese cuisine, especially Sichuan, so there’s several dishes I like to cook.

Eat – Again, it probably has to be paella. Or spicy boiled fish fillets, which is a Sichuan dish. What else? I like seafood. I’m a very adventurous eater, so it’s a very difficult question for me to answer because I like a lot of things, I’ve tried a lot of things and there’s almost nothing I will not try, at least. I think people make a huge mistake if they say, “Well, I’m not going to try this or that.” How would you know if you’re going to like it or not? Even if it’s something that in the past you haven’t liked, or you didn’t like, but it’s prepared in a different way, there’s a chance you will like it.

Cat or dog? Both, although my job – with the long hours I work – it’s almost impossible to have a dog, so I do have a cat currently, but I’ve had dogs in the past.

Cake or pie? I would take cake, but it all depends.

Locally Grown: The Miami Institute for Food Farm

Nearly 26% of the food Miami University dining services purchases comes from vendors located throughout southwest Ohio and the neighboring regions. However, one of Miami’s newest local partnerships is particularly close to home.

Located on the historic Austin-Magie Farm, near the intersection of Morning Sun and Somerville Roads in Oxford, the Miami University Institute for Food farm is only a five-minute drive from the center of campus. The Institute for Food is a unique local supplier, not only because of its proximity, but because it’s so much more than a farm.

“The farm is a part of the larger context of what the Institute for Food is about,” said farm manager Lauren Wulker. “The Institute for Food is an interdisciplinary education endeavor connecting students, faculty, and the Oxford community to issues of food, health, and sustainable agriculture.”

The farm is one component of the Institute for Food’s greater mission to engage diverse communities around issues of food, health and sustainable agriculture. The farm offers an interactive learning space for students and faculty from different disciplines to apply classroom learning to a real-world experience. For example, one of the only structures on the farm currently is a shipping container, fashioned into a “part-office” “part-toolshed” by an architecture design and build class at Miami. Other classes participating in the on-farm learning experience this semester include Engineers without Borders, web design, journalism, and a service-learning course.  


The farm is still relatively new, but has come a long way since breaking ground in January, with two shipping containers, a drip-water irrigation system and eight acres of both produce and cover crop. The first harvest took place in June, which marked the beginning of their partnership with dining services. Since then, the Institute for Food farm has continued to offer items like their dark-colored cherry tomatoes, fresh sage and an array of squash to the dining halls.

While partnering with the Institute for Food ushers in additional, fresh and locally grown produce for patrons of Miami’s dining services, the partnership serves a greater purpose for the farm.

“We’re growing vegetables in an effort to affect change within the food system regionally and around the country,” said Wulker. “We’re trying to breakdown some of the barriers that prevent smaller scaled operations from partnering with institutions.”

The partnership between the Institute for Food and Miami’s dining services is expected to grow as the farm does, leading to more farm fresh, local products on menus from just down the road. In the meantime, Wulker is excited at what the farm has already accomplished.

“It’s arriving. We are making it arrive. You know what I mean?” said Wulker, “And that’s important.”

Keep an eye out for signs, indicating Institute for Food products available on campus, and buy their products at Market Street at MacCracken or the Moon Co-op. They have also sold to Quarter Barrel and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Cincinnati called Urban Greens.


Recapping Local Vendor Day (Fall 2016)

Twice a year, Market Street at MacCracken hosts Local Vendor Day, where local vendors visit Miami University, giving students the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people behind their favorite on-campus, local products. And, of course, there are free samples!

The fall rendition, on October 6, was no different. Bathed in the sunlight from a beautiful fall day, 11 vendors set up tables and spoke with students about their products while the Pineridge Partners, a local band from Somerville, played music.

Burgers, gelato, chocolate, candy, baked goods and more were available to sample, but those products are readily available for students now. All the vendors sell out of Market Street at MacCracken!

So, learn a little more about the vendors who attended the event, and be sure to stop by Market Street to purchase their incredible local products!

Check out more photos from Local Vendor Day on our Facebook page!

Madisono’s Gelato


Offering free samples of their Carmello & Sea Salt gelato, Madisono’s Gelato specializes in hand-crafted, unique artisanal flavors of gelato and sorbet. It’s sold on campus out of Market Street at MacCracken and Emporium.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about Madisono’s Gelato and learn how a shiitake mushroom farmer learned how to make gelato.

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek


The Organic Farm at Bear Creek provides a wide range of tasty products to Market Street, including salsa, pasta sauce, jams, soups and tea. At Local Vendor Day, owners Jeff and Sandra Ashba handed out samples of the flavorful, fresh salsa.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece on The Organic Farm and how they ensure consistency in their products by using family heirloom seeds.

Winans Chocolates + Coffees


Winans Chocolates + Coffees is a fourth generation family owned chocolate and coffee company located in Piqua. They provided free samples of their chocolate-covered espresso beans and chocolate-covered pretzels. Winans sells chocolates at Market Street at MacCracken, Emporium and King Cafe.

Reserve Run Family Farm


Reserve Run Family Farm is the farm behind the delicious burgers offered at Maplestreet Station’s Encounter. Samples of burgers were available at Local Vendor Day. You can find Reserve Run’s tasty burgers at Encounter, and you can also pick up other Reserve Run Farm products at Market Street.

Check out “Locally Grown” piece on Reserve Run Farm and what makes their burgers so good.

Windy Acres


Windy Acres was back at Local Vendor Day with a wide variety of sweet treats for samples. Windy Acres has been a fixture of the area for years and for many, their candy is nostalgic. Purchase your own sweet supply at Market Street and check out our “Locally Grown” piece on Windy Acres.

Miami University Institute for Food


The Miami University Institute for Food and farm is an interdisciplinary experiential learning project dedicated to cultivating an awareness around issues of food, health, and sustainable agriculture. Look for its fresh produce across campus dining services and purchase your own at Market Street.

Oxford Coffee Company


The Oxford Coffee Company attended Local Vendor Day with samples of its coffee. Bob Thurston, Miami professor of history emeritus, buys and roasts the finest possible green coffee beans to ensure excellent flavor, subtlety and character with each cup of coffee. The coffee is available at Market Street.

Chubby Bunny Bakery


Chubby Bunny Bakery served up samples of its delicious gluten-free and vegan-baked goods, specifically their pumpkin muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Chubby Bunny Bakery products are made with organic ingredients and can be purchased out of Market Street.

Grandola Granola


Grandola Granola brought samples of its wonderful gourmet granola. The granola is nut-free, vegan and made by hand in small batches with organic and local ingredients. Grandola Granola is sold out of Market Street.

Check out our “Locally Grown” piece about Grandola Granola and learn more about how a daughter’s snack turned into a business.

Raphael’s Pizzelles


Raphael’s Pizzelles visited us from Middletown and sampled a variety of their tasty pizzelle flavors like Citrus, Maple Walnut and even their seasonal Pumpkin. Pizzelles are a crispy Italian cookie and can be found at Market Street and Bell Tower Place.

Heather’s Goodies


Heather’s Goodies joined us at Local Vendor Day and offered samples of their delicious baked bread, specifically banana blueberry bread. Heather’s Goodies is based out of Bellbrook and their products can be purchased at Market Street.