Authentically international: multicultural cuisine at Fermilab provides global appeal

The melting pot: In addition to serving up authentic dishes of all manner of cuisine, Southern Foods is putting an American spin on international classics, such as this croque madame.

The melting pot: In addition to serving up authentic dishes of all manner of cuisine, Southern Foods is putting an American spin on international classics, such as this croque madame.

It’s no secret that Fermilab is revving up its efforts to form partnerships with physics institutions around the world. International support for our major projects not only enhances our standing in the scientific community, it actually improves the quality of the science itself.

But the prospect of doing exciting science at Fermilab is, perhaps surprisingly, not always enough to attract outside partners to Chicagoland. They need more — a promise that everyday life at the laboratory will closely resemble life at home, mitigating the effects of homesickness. A multinational setting also produces an EPCOT effect: Those from other nations get to see not only how Chicagolanders live, but also how residents from our partner nations live.

Starting today, Wilson Hall Café is taking on a more international flavour — or flavours — serving up meals that will remind visitors of their homelands.

Now your plate will be filled with éclat and joie de vivre thanks to a new addition to the menu, French fries, inspired by scientists from IN2P3. You’ll also feel pure élan when you take a bite of French toast, suggested by a CERN scientist who spends more time on the western side of the European laboratory. (‘Entrée’ will now refer to an appetizer, and, for clarity, main dishes will be called mains. As in [manz], not [mɛ̃].)

The morning breakfast bar will greet you with sweet and savory Danishes. The dessert selection includes the result of a rigorously tested chocolate cake formula obtained at DESY. The aromatic roasted Brazil nuts have already received noms of approval from the University of São Paulo crowd. And Dark Energy Camera shifters always return from the Atacama Desert with new, mouth-watering recipes for chili con carne, which they happily share with Southern Foods.

“This is such a wonderful change for our global community of users,” said Users Executive Committee chair Bill Louis. “My favourite part is the salad dressing smorgasbord: Russian, Italian, French. Everyone will feel right at home eating in Wilson Hall Café.”

As an experiment, a scientist from CERN’s Eastern side drew up a process for making a light yellow, medium-hard cheese, but it was deemed too labor-intensive for the pilot phase of Go Go Global.

The most popular feature is the extension of the Fermilab lunch hour from one hour to two, in keeping with the habits of the European workforce.