By Elena Rowe
Dining halls are the “hub” of the college life where students can socialize, eat, and take a break during a long day of classes. While enjoying our food, we sometimes fail to realize that a lot of planning goes on behind the scenes in order for us to enjoy a meal.
Jennifer Curtis, director of dining hall facilities, explained the process of Hood’s food preparation and the many changes that have occurred over the past few years. Curtis, who has worked at Hood for the past three and a half years, has made sure significant change has occurred.
“For the most part, we are feeding students for four years and we are constantly trying to make [food items] different,” she said.
With that being said, much feedback from students has allowed introduction of new food items as well as changes in how the food is served.
Multiple changes have occurred under Curtis’ tenure. This includes the stir fry next to the grill in the regular serving line, and the introduction of the Delicious Destinations table which has been popular with students. With many students on campus, Curtis also wanted to incorporate more vegan or vegetarian dishes since some students cannot eat anything containing meat.
A recent event that has become popular is “Dining With The Director,” a casual dinner in the seminar room where students can meet and share ideas with Curtis about improvements and potential changes to their dining hall. The next meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 12.
Students are encouraged to express their ideas of any future changes at the dining hall. With these ideas and new changes, Curtis hopes to make students continually healthy and happy with college dining.
Many students from various grade levels have different opinions on the food offered at Hood. Freshmen Khyja McCray, Breanna Brown and Ermia Jeanty feel that the food was good at the beginning of the school year but feel that some food items need more seasoning and the Delicious Destinations “islands” need more options that students can enjoy. In contrast, Khyja enjoys the meals from different cultures, “especially the Korean menu”, and the staff, who she finds friendly and attentive.
“They always remember my name,” she remarked.
Brown and Jeanty observe the dining hall is clean, inviting, and a good opportunity to meet new people every day.
Sophomore Mackenzie Clark feels that while the food can be tasty sometimes, she feels that following a few suggestions can make a consistently positive dining experience for students.
“One of the suggestions I have is to have a home-cooked meals suggestion box,” she said. “Students can put suggestions of what they are used to eating at home in the box and the dining staff make it for everyone.”
She also feels that kitchen staff shouldn’t make the same food items for both lunch and dinner. However, she enjoys the dessert items offered.
Sophomore Tykera Pratt feels that food is decent and believes it is the same setup from last year. Junior Dorothy San agrees. Since she was a commuter for her first two years, she didn’t come to the dining hall. Now, as a resident, she comes more often, enjoys the food options and feels that the dining hall has ample variety.
Senior Baridakara Nwilene enjoys the breakfast and lunch options, but also feels the dining hall needs more options for Delicious Destinations. Generally, students seem to enjoy the dining hall and its food, but feel that a greater variety of options could improve the college dining experience.