Sarah Deng, a student at Fordham College at Lincoln Center and a member of the class of 2020, is a food justice advocate, food plater, and aspiring chef. She turns dining hall food into works of art for her Instagram account, @Sarah_TheChef, and seeks to "tell more people, especially students in Fordham, that food could be beautiful and tasty in vision, even in the dining hall."
I chatted with her to get the scoop on her many food-related accomplishments.
Over winter break, Deng went on a Global Outreach project to Immokalee, Florida, where 90% of US winter tomatoes are produced, and learned about the terrible working conditions of immigrant workers in the tomato fields.
"I was shocked by the poor and undeveloped situations in most of the agricultural fields and the fact that workers, who harvest the food that we eat, have been treated so unethically, even inhumanly," said Deng.
Deng's GO! project inspired her to raise awareness about The Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Fair Food Program that ensures that farm workers picking fruits and vegetables are working under humane conditions and receiving living wages.
"I am currently participating in boycotting Wendy’s, a movement launched by the Fair Food Program of Immokalee workers for fair tomatoes," said Deng.
Deng has also used her Instagram account to share her tomato recipes while simultaneously sharing facts about food justice. In one of her posts, she mentions that in Immokalee, one worker receives only 50 cents for picking one 32 pound bucket of tomatoes (about 85 tomatoes in total).
In addition to being a food justice advocate, Deng has used her Instagram account to display her plating masterpieces using food from Fordham's Lincoln Center dining hall. She starting food plating in October, 2016 during her first semester at FCLC.
"I started to use ingredients that are provided by the Ram Dining to create art and put the photos on social media. I wish through the sharing of these art pieces, people will gradually realize the artistic essence in food and appreciate the food we have every day in the dining hall."
She came up with the idea to start food plating with the hopes of igniting people's appreciation for everyday food and gaining a creative outlet.
"I love food because it always brings people together. It does not only mean that it brings people to eat together at the same table; It also means that it brings people’s minds and hearts together in a natural and beautiful way."
Keep an eye out for this chef-to-be, and don't forget to follow her on Instagram because while you may see her walking around Fordham's campus now, you may just see her on Food Network in the future.