Guacamole, a dish of mashed up avocados, is increasingly popular among Americans, even rivaling salsa as the go-to dip. Although it’s been around for over 500 years, fans continue to invent new recipes. One reason for this is the versatility of avocados, which can be paired with almost anything— from tomatoes and onions to black beans and fried leeks.
This month, the Lassonde Studios hosts its first ever Guactoberfest, a celebration of the popular dish. Duncan Cox, a student leader at the Lassonde Institute for the Food Entrepreneur program explains: “The reason we picked guac is because it’s an exciting, easy to make food, with a lot of potential for experimentation. By adding lemon instead of lime, sundried tomatoes instead of diced ones, or a teaspoon of sugar for a little sweetness, you can change the flavor profile of guac dramatically.”
The success of local restaurants just how much people love a good guacamole. One restaurant offers four standard guacamoles and a daily special. The daily special is an invention of the staff that really highlights the possibilities of guacamole. When I recently dined at the restaurant, the daily special was avocados with strawberries and Gorgonzola cheese — yum!
New building, new food opportunities
The Lassonde Institute opened its new five-story studios on the east side of the University of Utah campus this last August. The building houses residents, startup companies, a maker space and a cafe. The cafe will become the center of Lassonde’s focus on food entrepreneurship.
The Miller Cafe is open to the public 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. It offers soups, salads, pizzas and other delicious dishes. Plans for the cafe menu also include a proposal to eventually feature student recipes. “We want to provide as much exposure to new and exciting food business as is possible,” Cox says, “and the Food Entrepreneur program is brand new, focusing on helping student food entrepreneurs gain the skills necessary to start their own food ventures,” he explains.
This fledgling program is already hosting monthly food events in the new building — beginning last month when Bob Nielsen, co-founder of Cafe Rio, and Abe Hollands hosted a discussion on quality control in a new food business. He also showed the students how to roll a proper burrito.
“You only need to show up,” says Cox “I showed up to one event my sophomore year, and without even trying, I was swept up by the crazy, entrepreneurial whirlwind of it all. The staff, student leadership and culture of the Lassonde Institute make it incredibly easy to jump in, get involved and feel a sense of belonging.”
A competition accessible to all students
Guactoberfest will take place Friday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m., in the Lassonde Studios Miller Cafe. All students are welcome to attend. Avocados will be provided but participants should bring their special ingredients to complete their signature guacamole.
“This is the first time we’ve hosted Guactoberfest at the Lassonde. We hope to start off the event with a bang, and maybe even expand it to a series of guac competitions,” Cox says.
And even if you don’t want to compete, you’re still invited to join the fun — just make sure to bring your appetite!
Learn more about the Food Entrepreneur program at lassonde.utah.edu/food.