Opinion: The Cafeteria Has Improved

Opinion: The Cafeteria Has Improved

Jordan Shelton-Greene

Jordan Shelton-Greene

About a year ago I wrote an article about the Committee of 100 Cafeteria on Southwestern Adventist University’s campus, taking a critical look at how the café operated and what was being served. Much of the article dealt with the lack of options and the predictability of the café menu. This past year, however, I believe there’s been a huge change in not only in how food is served, but the health benefits of the food as well.

With the arrival of new Head Chef Mandy Smith, the café has vastly improved not only its variety, but its quality. Chef Mandy’s prime objective for the café has been making sure that they serve healthy, nutrient rich food that still tastes delicious. One of the most obvious ways this has been implemented is by moving the salad bar to the front of the serving table, motivating students toward a healthy start to every meal. This has also been accomplished through a variety of different dishes, all done from scratch and made with fresh ingredients. Much of the produce served in the café comes from local farmers in the community.

The ingredients are not the only thing that stays fresh in the café. Not often does one walk into a meal time to find the same dish that was served the week before. Chef Mandy and the kitchen staff have been very good about making sure that the menu does not become stale or mundane. Leftovers are a rarity, and the dishes are varied and eclectic in nature. If you don’t like the main dish, there’s always an alternative. Don’t like either? The sandwich bar is always open. The café has also installed new cereal dispensers that are always available, as well as fresh fruit.

The café has made some strides in the past year, but as with everything, there is still room for improvement. Specifically, the hot food service in the Rusty Bucket has slumped in the past year. Whereas they used to be open every day, hot food is only served two days a week, and at irregular hours. I’m told that this is due to the lack of hands in the kitchen because of tight class schedules. There is also the problem of lack of hot food availability. There are often many items on the menu that run out quickly and then are not replaced. I have no doubt, however, that these inconveniences will soon be remedied. The food sold in the Bucket is a little better, and I really enjoy the new “customize-your-order” system in place for hot food.

As I said in my previous article, the café is the one place on campus where almost every student goes. It is a central hub for socialization, essential nutrition, and vital energy; how you feel during the day depends on what you eat. As we go into the new year, I have high hopes for the Committee of 100 Cafeteria as it continues to service us, taking quite literally the commission of Christ to “feed My sheep.”

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