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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Dining Hall Scores Award For Variety

While many Grinnell students avoid Beef Olé and Turkey Tetrazzini, at least they have the luxury of complaining about those dishes while eating a nutritious black bean burger from the vegan bar or scarfing down a cheeseburger from the Honor G Grill.

This summer, the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) awarded Grinnell Dining Services with several awards. The dining hall received awards for diverse food selection, presentation, and nutritional value, including the Grand Prize in the Concept/Outlet category, and the Silver Prize in Special Event Catering.

In order to be judged, each school’s catering company sent in a large binder filled with recipes and nutritional information from their menu. Also included in the binder were pictures and information of nutritional presentations given in the Marketplace, such as the May 7, 2008 event on “The Effects of Carbs, Fats, and Proteins,” and special food events such as the Chocolate Breakfast of Feb.13, which featured a chocolate fountain and fresh fruit.

Grinnell scored highly in the five categories for the competition including menu selection, merchandising and presentation, marketing, nutritional soundness, and overall impression. Though the judges never ate the food from Grinnell Dining Services, they were impressed.
One judge wrote in the comments section, “Lots of healthy options, I could eat here all day every day.”

“Food is neat, nutritious, perfectly prepared,” wrote another.
Terry Waltersdorf, Assistant Director of Grinnell Dining for Procurement, offered his opinion on why Grinnell not only won, beating larger universities such as the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, in the process.

“I really think probably our overall variety [was most important in winning],” said Waltersdorf. “I think our push at local, our vegan area…which a lot of schools [have] one dish and that’s it, we’ve got a whole area assigned to that. It’s just the overall quality of the operation and presentation.”

After Dining Services moved from Cowles and Main to the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center in the fall of 2006, food options expanded from cafeteria line-style dining with seven options in two different buildings, to 11 different food stations with different food at every meal in one location.

Despite the dining hall’s award wining selection, students still complain. “The food is the exact same every year, every semester,” said David Opong-Wadee ’12. “[But] it’s better than most college campuses.”

Upon learning that the judges did not eat the food for this competition, Opong-Wadee said, “Most of it looks better than it actually tastes.”
Yet the American Culinary Federation (ACF) may disagree with him, as after eating the Grinnell dining hall’s chicken with vodka sauce in a food competition four years ago, they gave Grinnell a gold medal, making it the runner-up to enter the national competition. Grinnell is rare in that it has four ACF certified chefs on staff and may soon have three more.

“We have a very professional staff,” said Grinnell Executive Chef Scott Turley. “They work hard-they’re proud of what they do.”
Alexander Brooks ’10 agrees that the food is worthy of award. “Based on everything I’ve heard about college dining at other colleges I certainly think we’re worthy of the award,” said Brooks. “The fact that we have as much I gather is pretty unusual.”

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