The families of University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee students Pin-Hsuan and Chu-Juan Hsu were more than 8,000 miles away in Taiwan on Sunday while the two students were serving food to 900 guests at USF’s 23rd annual Brunch on the Bay.
The students, both in the school’s popular College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, told their parents that one of the benefits they would get from coming to Florida from their universities in Taiwan on an exchange program is that their English would improve.
But Pin-Hsuan and Chu-Juan Hsu may have still been a bit confused Sunday about the exact meaning of the English word “yum” when delivered with different intonations.
Sometimes it was said quickly by brunch guests and sometimes stretched out with the “m” held a long time.
“Our parents are excited because they feel we are learning more English and improving ourselves,” said Pin-Hsuan, who goes by “Betty.”
Yums in all variations were popping up all over the place with chefs from 21 area restaurants preparing an interesting and scrumptious brunch menu this year for the strolling guests along the bay.
Pier 22 in downtown Bradenton made capicola eggs benedict, and nearby Cafe L’Europe had chicken empanadas, and then there were gourmet cupcakes and cookies from Cakes by Ron.
Pin-Hsuan and Chu-Juan Hsu helped serve coffee at Seabreeze Coffee & Tea, which was featuring a variety of delightful types of coffee from Katy’s Coffee, a new business owned by Bradenton’s Katy Kopstad in only its second presentation to the public.
Pin-Hsuan and Chu-Juan Hsu both enjoy caring for others, serving them scrumptious meals, making sure their sleeping quarters are comfy and finding them fun things to do on holiday. They have come to USF Sarasota-Manatee to turn this character trait into a lifelong career.
“I want to work in a hotel as a manager,” Pin-Hsuan said.
“I want to travel the world,” said Chu-Juan Hsu, who goes by Jessie.
Hospitality a solid career field
For people who feel they are suited, hospitality can be very fulfilling financially and lead to job opportunities all over the world, said Joe Askren, director of the Culinary Innovation Lab, which is part of the the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.
Askren and the dean of the college, Pat Moreo, brought 24 students at the brunch, including Pin-Hsuan and Chu-Juan Hsu, to team with chefs to learn from them and help the event go smoothly.
Manatee County residents Joshua Anderson and Melanie Wallace were among the 24 placed with Pier 22 and Michael’s On East respectively. Anderson served eggs benedict, and Wallace marinated flank steak with homemade steak sauce.
“My plan is to be an event manager, someone who oversees events and does catering,” Wallace said.
Anderson was soaking in every word from Greg Campbell, the chef from Pier 22.
“There’s going to be a thousand people coming through here,” Campbell told Anderson. “You get hit. You get pounded. You have to be ready. We are of the opinion that you show up, you go big or you don’t go at all so we don’t bring anything pre-done or pre-cooked. We bring an oven. We have water boiling. We will be poaching 1,100 eggs today.”