For those of us who lived in the dorms once upon a time, and for those of us who still do, we recall days filled with our best friends down the hall, cheesy sticks subsidised by the RAs and nights spent in the floor lounge. Most importantly, though, we remember the dining halls. The meal points that we all have or had as freshmen were a source of great relief and anxiety. Maybe you loved going to the dining hall and indulging in an all-you-can-eat meal that you convinced yourself was free because it had been paid for in advance. Or maybe you always ate out and felt burdened by the number of meal points you managed to let go to waste.
Whatever your feelings about the dining halls, we can likely all appreciate the sheer variety of options they provide. Thierry Bourroux, the director of Residential and Retail Operations for Cal Dining, and Francis Pazzanese, the general manager of the Clark Kerr dining hall, explained that whenever they can, the staff at the dining halls tries to get as many kinds of produce as possible. They do find themselves limited, however, by what’s available seasonally and the number of students they must feed.
Bourroux wants to foster a culture of hospitality within the dining halls. “Every student should not be afraid to ask for something,” he said. He explained that students should feel comfortable asking nicely for fruit if they don’t see it out. Whenever they can, the staff will try to bring out any extra fruit that they have available.
There’s been a more recent push by the dining hall staff to be local in the fruit they are sourcing and serving to students. According to Pazzanese and Bourroux, the general philosophy for serving fruit is that every student should be able to find apples, bananas and oranges during breakfast and dinner. Additional fruits, such as strawberries, grapes and grapefruits are served when they are available from the number of produce companies that the dining halls work with to source the fruit.
“(We’re) trying to change the culture of where we buy stuff, how we buy stuff and what we put into people,” Pazzanese said. So the next time you enjoy an orange or a bunch of grapes in the dining hall, you can also appreciate the thought that went into the produce sourced for you.