Rice University in Houston, TX launched its vegan charcuterie lunch program for the fall semester and beyond.The new offerings were developed from scratch by the school’s senior executive chef Roger Elkhouri and include lunch meats such as turkey, corned beef, pastrami, and roast beef, and cheeses such as provolone, pepper jack, smoked cheddar, dill havarti, and a paprika-spiked cheese ball. “A plant-based diet is good for everybody,” Elkhouri said, “and it’s good for the environment, too.” Elkhouri spent more than a year developing the new offerings—using wheat, mushrooms, and smoke flavoring for the meats and allergen-friendly coconut milk for the cheeses—and offers specials such as barbecue brisket and Italian sausage. “You’re dealing with extremely talented and sophisticated students here,” Elkhouri said. “They’re always asking questions and you have to be on your toes, so what we try to do is get out ahead of them. Four or five years down the road you’ll be seeing ‘plant-based’ everywhere. We’re pioneers.”

Photo courtesy of Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

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