Every day I go into the Campus Center with an expectation for there to be food available for me and, thus far, I have not been disappointed because there are always a variety of choices. Perhaps it has been due to my preoccupation with my classes and other activities that I have never really given a second thought to what goes on behind-the-scenes of Dining Services. However, Sept. 13, I was given the spectacular opportunity to learn more about the goings on in the kitchen long before any students are even thinking about eating.
In an informative presentation put on by Dining Services, Director of Dining Services Gerard Short began with a detailed description of the difference between an all-you-can-eat plan versus Rollins’ on-card system. Due to this system, Short said, “We are able to offer a higher quality of food.” To further prove this, Head Chef Gustavo Vasconez talked about the intricate food ordering process that he goes through. In order to ensure the highest quality Sodexo, the company that runs Dining Services, makes deals with other companies so that it will receive the best food at the best price. Another key element in the ordering process is ensuring that all of the food is packaged, shipped and received at the appropriate temperature so that they “don’t break the chain of quality.”
I never realized how much work goes into just receiving the food, let alone preparing it; just as much effort, if not more, is put into cooking each and every meal. The kitchen staff always works very late into the night cleaning up from busy dinners. They arrive early the next morning to begin cooking so that breakfast will be ready to be served promptly at 7 a.m. when the hall opens. The staff does not seem to mind this laborious work, as Vasconez explained, “We have a group of people doing something that they love to do.”
After listening to the speakers at the presentation describe the copious amount of work that goes into the entire Dining Services process, I will certainly be more appreciative of everything I eat. Now I know that all of the food presented to me has been carefully selected, delivered and prepared so that I will receive the best possible nutrition. I have also developed a newfound respect for the dining staff because I now know the amount of work that goes into keeping my classmates and I well-fed. One thing is for sure: never again will I assume that the magical food fairy summoned my meal with a sparkling magic wand; there was a lot more eff ort put into it than just a little mystical pixie dust.
So, the next time you go to the Campus Center, remember all the hard work and trouble that goes into making our meals and know that you are eating good food at a good price at a great school.