Hodson Dining Hall Overhaul

By Elijah McGuire-Berk

Elm Staff Writer

Ask and ye shall receive.  After a whole semester of listening to various suggestions, comments, and complaints from students, Dining Services at Washington College has made several changes to their current operations.  They cited feedback from the menu committee, comments on the dining hall’s website, and people who spoke to the dining hall staff directly as the source of their changes.

The first big change was making Hodson Hall friendlier for vegetarians.  The My Pantry area  now serves all vegetarian foods with an added focus on being gluten free.

In order to prevent cross-contamination, utensils designated for gluten free products are marked with a red handle. The kitchen also has special cooking utensils to be used only with gluten free foods. All the bread in My Pantry lacks any gluten and the regular bread has been moved behind the deli.

Another notable change was one made to the pizza recipe. The revised recipe contains less sugar in the sauce and the pizzas now have increased toppings per slice. Dining Services plans to add more pasta dishes such as broccoli alfredo or chicken parmesan to increase the options for students. The plain pasta options will remain.

Other small changes were made throughout Hodson Dining Hall. In the salad bar, more protein options have been added such as hard-boiled eggs and miniature shrimp. The Grille area has been returned to its self-serve status, which the staff hopes will make The Grille more efficient. The broken cappuccino and hot chocolate machine was removed. Hot chocolate is now brewed in large batches.

Staffing changes have also been made in an attempt to allow the the dining hall staff to cook fresher food at a faster pace than before. In doing so, the staff hopes to address the complaints that they received about their food not tasting fresh.

Regarding all the changes, Director of Dining Services Don Stanwick was quite pleased.  He said, “We are absolutely thrilled about this. We think these are going to be great changes. We think freshness is going to be much better, we think the services are going to be much better, and we think the quality of the food that we’re offering is going to be much better.”

Going into the future, Dining Services also hopes to better balance its portion sizes.  Starting Dec. 1, 2016, a law will go into effect  that mandates that food served in certain types of institutions, Hodson Hall included, will have to clearly label and make accessible nutritional information and portion sizes.

As the semester goes on, the dining hall hopes to slowly accommodate the new law along with solidifying its other changes.

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