Afua Nuro, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, September 4, 2012, every dining hall on campus had an international food day. For the whole day, each meal that was served in the three dining halls on campus was from a different part of the world. I had the pleasure of talking with most of the chefs and learning more about the food they made. At Mills, Sodexo chef Al Soto cooked Mexican cuisine. Soto works on college campuses in the Northeast, has been a chef for 25 years and has cooked for 235 different schools. For lunch, he made chicken breast and spicy rice,with a side of beans and corn. They also served a special drink called “agua fresca.” For dinner, Soto served grizzled pork with your choice of tomatillo or rancho sauce. Mexican food can be very simple, but very spicy.
Wilsbach had two guest cooks, one from Kenya and the other from Korea. The Korean food was served for dinner by Korean chef Micha, who works in the vegan food section at Wilsbach. She was very excited about her food and wants to make more Korean food at Wilsbach. Korean food is very fresh; they eat a lot of raw and steamed food, including rice with most of their meals. The food that was served for dinner at Wilsbach was bulgogi for the entree, which is grilled marinated beef made with brown sugar and walnuts. The also had duklokkie, which is sliced rice cakes with Asian chili pepper sauce with a side dish of moo kun, which is a beef soup. A traditional three course Korean meal has less than 1000 calories and there was no fat used in any of the Korean foods that were made that day.
In Hulbert, Indian food was served by cook Todd Romanelli, who has been a cook for four years. That night for dinner in Hulbert they served roast beef and steamed salmon with a side of collard greens. They also had steamed tomatoes, fish soup and coconut soup.
As I talked to each chef and cook in the dining halls, I learned a lot about the food on campus that many students do not know about. For the year 2013, Sodexo has a mission to bring more healthy and diverse foods to their college campuses. They are trying to feature more vegan foods and those that have reduced fat. The average plate of food that you eat in the dining halls is around 892 to 1300 calories. Soto suggests that if you want to avoid the freshman 15, you shouldn’t eat more than one plate of food each time you go to eat at the dining halls. If you go into Hulbert Hall you will see that they have added a section called “All Healthy.” Hulbert Hall is the first dining hall in all the Sodexo schools that has an “All Healthy” station. This station is the beginning of the Sodexo mission to bring more healthy foods to their campuses. In the “All Healthy” section, you will find vegetables, grains, yogurt, a salad bar, pastas and brown rice.
The one thing that all the chefs and cooks expressed to me is that they want more student input. Micha said, “We are here for the students.” If you want a certain type of food to be made, tell the managers in each dining hall. Students may make suggestions to improve the quality of the food they are being served. If you go to http://www.sodexousa.com and click on Contact Us you can leave a comment for them with your suggestions. If you enjoy something that is made in the dining halls, tell the chef. But if you did not, don’t be shy; let the chef or cook who served the food know. If people offer constructive criticism about the food then they will do something to change it. Like Micha said, they are here for the students.