Potsdam chef has spent months planning 250 dishes to serve for World University Games hockey players

Dec. 31—POTSDAM — Months of preparation have gone into concocting a menu of 250 dishes from around the world that will be served to 500 hockey players, coaches and staff during the FISU World University Games.

SUNY Potsdam is hosting the players in an athlete village that has been set up in the Knowles Hall dormitory. All women's hockey qualifier matches and a couple of men's qualifiers will be played at Maxcy Hall.

Chef Nate R. Shene, who works for SUNY Potsdam's PACES dining service department, and manages the kitchen at Lehman Dining Hall, said he's been picking and inventing menu items to serve to the hockey players since the fall.

He said the challenge was to come up with recipes that represent cuisine from around the globe, while working around supply chain issues that can make ingredients hard to get, sometimes something as simple as broccoli.

"It was mostly trying to find recipes that were obtainable," Mr. Shene said, "trying to pick recipes that are culturally representative and using ingredients that are available."

"Supply chains are tough right now," he added. "A lot of specialty items used in vegan dishes are hard to get, seitan for example. I can get certain kinds but some kinds I can't get."

After four months of preparation, Mr. Shene said he's been able to come up with the 250 dishes that have no ingredient availability issues.

I wanted to serve house-made egg rolls, but they're pretty labor intensive," he said. "The rest of the menu is designed to use available ingredients, so there was nothing on there I had to scrap because of unavailability."

He said one of his favorite dishes that the athletes will get to try is Korean beef bulgogi.

"It's braised beef with gochujang, a Korean spicy sauce," he said. "The American version ... would be like spicy beef stew, kind of, served over Asian noodles."

Other dishes Mr. Shene has planned include butter chicken (murgh makhani) from India, Thai grilled chicken satay and Vietnamese pork banh-mi.

"One of my cooks is from Morocco. Her and I came up with a Moroccan day — eggplant rollettes, beef tagine and Moroccan roasted vegetable salad."

Mr. Shene had to get approval from FISU games staff for each dish and each day's menu.

"The FISU people sent some rough guidelines," he said, with each station having to conform to various cultural guidelines, with three to five dishes per station.

"I had to send it for approval four times," he said, and FISU would come back with suggestions such as "change this day from Italian cuisine to Asian cuisine, that kind of thing. It took about four months."

Each meal has to have a protein, a starch and a vegetable. They're serving four meals per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snack. He and several sous chefs will make the meals in a kitchen in Knowles Hall and serve them in an area set up for dining.

"It's going to be tough. It's going to be interesting," Mr. Shene said. "It's going to be a lot of batch cooking and trial and error."

The hockey games at Maxcy Hall start Jan. 11 with Great Britain vs. Czech Republic and then Slovakia vs. Canada, both women's games. The last game at Maxcy will be a men's tilt, Great Britain vs. Korea.

Tickets start at $10. To buy tickets, go to wdt.me/dbyJZW and click the ice hockey tab.

All games will stream live online at fisu.tv, with the finals in Lake Placid broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+.