This year will be the first time I return to campus without Sodexo. Their replacement, Bon Appétit Management Company, is a food service that works with universities, museums, and corporations. According to its website, Bon Appétit is committed to sustainably sourcing their food. Their farm-to-table food is made in small batches from scratch, and the chefs don’t use corporate recipes.
A friend swiped me into the dining center for dinner last week, and I used my single off-campus student swipe to eat breakfast there the next morning. I enjoyed my meals. Yet for some reason, I am much more interested in the smaller changes throughout the DC that have nothing to do with the quality of the food
For example, there are now premade sandwiches and a staff-operated panini press sometimes at Center Stage. But, the deli station, a DC staple, is gone. Pretzel goldfish have now joined cheddar goldfish by the salad bar. A make-your-own crepe station at Center Stage sadly replaced the waffle maker. I’m sure these people exist, but who even likes crepes or has time to make their own?
The seemingly permanent Mediterranean station is mainly troughs of hard hummus. I would love if someone more knowledgeable could tell me how it measures up to the real thing, because I honestly prefer Sabra. Why is Emerson’s hummus so hard?
There are fewer cereals available, and people who are gluten-free have to scoop them out instead of turning the wheel, which I think is a little unfair and a little less sanitary. The desserts are delicious, but they always have been. Strawberry soft serve is now a thing, and there’s a wider selection of bread, including pumpernickel, olive oil, and whole grain.
On the condiments table by the utensils, there are now more hot sauces than just Sriracha and Tabasco. The new selection seems like a rookie version of the Hot One’s lineup, and even includes some cheeky Nando’s hot sauce. The condiments are now in bowls instead of the usual dispensers, which again seems unsanitary.
Between the bread and salad bar, there are single-use cups of smooth Skippy peanut butter. There are now parmesan, oregano, and red chili pepper shakers by the pizza.
My favorite change, and probably the most unnecessary one, is that the napkins now sit in a pile in a metal basket. They’re so damn cute, and I’ll be surprised if they don’t all go missing by the end of the semester. Those are included in our tuition, right?
Hoppe’s email included a link to the new DC website, which is far better than Sodexo’s. It’s up-to-date, the hours are easy to find, and the menu is specific and clear. It’s easy to use, and you can filter results by café, day, and dietary preference.
Altogether, I love the intention behind the new changes. Farm-to-table food, made from scratch in small batches and free from corporate recipes, is an exciting and welcome change. Only now do I feel like they’re finally providing us with food to eat in a healthier way. I just wonder if they can keep it up.