Complaints lead to fresher food in campus cafeterias

If the food has seemed fresher in campus cafeterias lately, it is because Chartwells has decided to respond to student concerns.

“In the last four weeks we have improved the quality of the food by changing pans more frequently and by using smaller pans,” said Norse Commons residential director Nicole Arvan.

In addition to changing pans frequently and using smaller pans, cooks are using batch cooking techniques, according to Residential Director Tom Mcugh. Batch cooking is when food is prepared as needed, rather than cooking large quantities at once.

“It would be easier for the cooks to cook it all at once,” said Resident District Manager Melissa Pompa, “but it doesn’t lend itself to freshness and quality.”
The differences in the quality of the food have been noted by students.

“In the past two weeks it’s been really good,” said Jarrodd Burress, a freshman education major.

Devante Unnikrishnan, who is a freshman computer science major, agreed with Burress and added that food is freshest between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

Lack of variety is another issue that has been brought up by students. Freshman Shannon Kimble said that the food is the same every day.

Sophomore physics major Kirk Wallace likes buffet style. However, he said that he would like more healthy options.

“There’s a lot of greasy foods,” Wallace said. “I would like to see more salad options.”

Sophomore finance major Adam Salla agreed, and added that she would particularly like for a wider selection of meats to be offered because she cannot have pork, which is commonly used.

According to Arvan, students with specific needs can come to her with concerns. Ingredient labels can be provided for students to read if they have special dietary needs, such as gluten allergies or if they are on a vegan diet.

Some students favor the food offered late at night to what is served during the day.

Student feedback is welcome, according to Pompa. Students can submit requests, complaints and other comments online, by comment card or in person through a residential director.

“We’re here to serve the students, and hopefully serve them what they want to eat,” Pompa said. “But you can’t make changes if you don’t know people aren’t happy.”

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Story by Roxanna Blevins