By Madeline Bauer, Staff Writer
This semester, Furman students were introduced to Bon Appetit, which has replaced Aramark as the Dining Hall food supplier. Bon Appetit promises sustainably sourced food and organic produce. For those of us who have been disappointed with the Dining Hall’s lack of fresh foods, vegetarian options or meals suitable for those with dietary restrictions, this supply switch showed a lot of potential. I was excited to see what changes Bon Appetit had made to our DH, and I am sharing my honest review based on my observations thus far.
There were some tasteful and practical changes made. Not only have modern menu-display screens at each station been installed, but there are handwritten elements highlighting certain ingredients. Students have remarked that the screens have helped them decide whether waiting in lines to eat at a certain station is worth it; they get to see what exactly is being served. What is more, the breakfast nook has been extended to twice its size, which I am completely in favor of, since it eliminates the awkward shuffle between people who just want cereal and people who are trying to make a waffle. The gluten-free section has also expanded significantly; there are many more gluten-free options, including a separate selection of tasty desserts and cookies.
As far as food quality goes, there are some noticeable differences. The spinach and mixed greens at the salad bar are local and fresh, and there are new topping options like tempeh and berries. There have also been some interesting new meal options: vegetarian curry, turkey chili and a significantly wider variety of roasted and fresh vegetables. Some of these vegetables even came from our own Furman Farm. When asking my friends which changes from Bon Appetit they liked most, they commented on the wider variety of infused waters and teas, the new pickled vegetables added to the condiment station and the addition of more fruit: plums, watermelons and pineapple. I also had a chicken gyro that was a remarkable improvement over last year’s poor gyro attempts. Additionally, everyone declared the rotation of interesting ice cream flavors a success. So far we have seen flavors like pistachio, coffee caramel and piña colada.
In my opinion, I think the best thing Bon Appetit did to ensure their future success at Furman was keeping the foods and traditions that students love about the Dining Hall. We still enjoy Chicken Finger Tuesdays, Quesadilla Thursdays, the Mongolian Grill and our favorite DH cookies. Keeping these traditions, improving the freshness and quality of the food used in meal preparations and using locally sourced sustainable produce means that Bon Appetit is a success so far.