Students, faculty, and staff were welcomed with several improvements in Hunt Dining Hall upon their return to campus after winter break. As part of its continuing partnership with dining services provider Chartwells, Mary Baldwin University received new furniture and serving bars to give the dining hall an updated look. Smaller, round tables provide better conversation areas for diners, and long tables allow large groups to sit together. Diners have responded well to the changes, enjoying the contrast between high and low tables, as well as more room to move around, said Director of Dining Services Tracy Hiner.
A new format for printed menus that are displayed on the serving lines and chef stations allows visitors to read all the meals to be served throughout the week. People are able to see exactly what is coming up the next day, giving them a better understanding of how the daily and weekly menus are planned, Hiner explained.
Carrot Tops, a new communication campaign, has also been integrated into the new menu. Created by Assistant Director of Dining Services Mary VanNortwick, the campaign is designed to give diners a visual aid when choosing their meals. Carrot Tops symbols will help rank food by nutritional value, from foods that are “nutritional superstars,” to those that are “good for you,” and others that should be considered “a treat, not a lifestyle.”
Chartwells’ gluten-free Bready product line — which includes baked goods, breads and pizza dough — will continue to be offered in Hunt Dining Hall and the Nuthouse. In response to an increasing number of inquiries about gluten-free foods, the Pub will also begin serving those products and some specialty items obtained from local stores including desserts, pastas, and condiments.
Hiner hopes to have data soon to support his observations that the sustainable meal plan introduced in fall 2011 resulted in a reduction in food waste and money spent.