By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
The nations of the world may speak in many different tongues, but there’s one universal language recognized by every tongue: deliciousness.
That’s the spirit behind the Somerset-Pulaski Morning Rotary Club’s International Dinner, which will be returning this year on Saturday, March 2 at The Center for Rural Development.
The 13th annual edition of the dinner will, as always, go to benefit good causes. Proceeds from the event are used to find both projects here locally in the community and international humanitarian efforts in partnership with Rotary Clubs around the globe. One particular focus of Rotary International is the eradication of the disease polio around the world.
Ben Robertson of the Morning Rotary Club said that around 30 countries are expected to be represented at this year’s dinner, which allows attendees to sample home-cooked cuisine from what are typically local individuals who are either from or have close ties to other countries — whether in Europe, Africa, Asia, both North and South America, and all corners of the earth.
“This is the event our Rotary Club looks forward to each year,” said Robertson, a banking officer with Forcht Bank. “It’s always very well-received. There’s a great turnout from the business community and individuals and the international cooks too.”
Of course, there are always new entries in the constantly-growing International Dinner — this year, according to Robertson, guests can anticipate tasting the distinct flavors of Germany and Portugal for the first time.
Other cultures which usually have a presence at the dinner as yearly favorites include Argentina, China, Egypt, England, Ethiopia, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, Taiwan and Turkey.
Being so highly sought-after, it’s a tough ticket to get, and if you’re going to try, you might want to bring some friends. Tables are on sale now — $900 for a whole table, $565 for a half-table (or sets of eight or four tickets, respectively). Robertson noted that individual tickets aren’t usually put on sale until the last week or so before the event because the tables fill up quickly.
“Each year, the event sells out,” said Robertson, “and we expect a full house again this year.”
Tables can be purchased by contacting Chris Short at 606-271-8016, Ben Robertson at 606-451-4533 or Lisa Mullins at 606-679-5090.
Robertson knows firsthand about how rewarding the dinner can be: He prepares the food for the Scotland booth.
“I can speak from experience,” said Robertson. “The cooks really like it too because it gives them a chance to show off their native countries.”
Plus, it’s a chance to broaden one’s horizons. “There’s really nowhere else in the area that you can have the chance to taste these foods,” said Robertson.
The Somerset Pulaski Morning Rotary Club meets every Thursday morning
at 7 a.m. at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital Basement Conference Room B.
Guests are most welcome.
Rotary is a service-oriented organization that brings together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
Robertson assures that those who go ahead and get a table now will be in for a world of good times.
“People can expect a great atmosphere and relaxed dining,” said Robertson. “It’s a very leisurely dinner where there’s a lot of networking and interaction involved. It’s not your typical sit-down dinner; there’s lots of interaction between the guests and countries and such. It’s like no other in this area.”