Undoubtedly, the OES Dining Hall has not been popular in the past couple of years. More and more privileged students chose to go off-campus for lunch. However, the comments about our Dining Hall has changed a lot since the beginning of the year. And changed for the better...
2 Years of Transition
The company that OES hired is Bon Appetit and they began here two years ago, after there were considerable complaints about the food. As a new company, Kelly and Christian, who led the kitchen staff, had to overcome a lot of pressure. “We did not know what kids liked to eat at that time and we could not serve fries and hamburgers every day,” said Christian. Especially in the dorms, international students always had a hard time getting used to the American food, and the kitchen staff spent a long time making satisfying recipes for them. In addition, Kelly gave the Dining Hall staff more freedom so that the menu is way more flexible than we think. The cooks are always willing to accept ideas from students about what to cook. For example, Noe, who cooks dorm weekend dinners, started to serve made-to-order stir-fry after hearing dorm kids’ voice. As the temperature drops, the kitchen is working on seasonal menus like soups and stews, which they figured out is an important part of meals to OESians in winter.
Local Food, the Healthiest
On September 27, the OES Dining Hall had a Local Food Day. The theme of this event was to have food made that was grown from local farms. Most of the food came from Oregon and Washington, as well as the OES community garden. (Yes, OES has a number of small gardens throughout campus!)
Has anyone realized that we have been having a basil soup every Thursday for the last three weeks? The basils come from the garden 20 feet away from the kitchen! It was picked by Dining Hall staff on Thursday morning and served during lunch on the SAME day. Also, the menu from now on will be more seasonal in order to maintain the freshness of the ingredients. The community garden probably will be a sign of what we eat in the Dining Hall in the next couple of months.
Save the Cups, the Food will be BETTER
The Dining Hall has stopped providing cups during school days. Why? They lost at least 500 cups last year! “We wish this is not necessary,” commented Christian, “but if we could save the money used on replacing the cups, we could make a steak feast for all the school.” Not only cups, but the enormous number of utensils and plates were lost last year. Think about those cups sitting wherever–– they are plastic. They are harmful to our environment if we just leave them. Consider the campus, and then think about steak… want it? Bring your own cups to get water! The Dining Hall totally can improve more!