Every semester, Wheaton’s dining services attempt to improve the food that is offered to students and faculty members. Scott O’Rourke, the director of dining services, explained that Chase Dining Hall operates on a four-week menu cycle, which means that the menu is rotated every four weeks. In between semesters, Chef Adam creates the next menu cycle. According to O’Rourke, Chase Dining has added “casserole dishes every Wednesday to the pizza station, which are always popular during the cold weather. The Delicious Destinations station piloted a Cuban Craving menu in the middle of the fall semester and this will be featured again in our four-week cycle of international cuisine at Delicious Destinations.”
O’Rourke continued to mention that “near the end of last semester we made some changes on the weekend based on feedback. We now serve breakfast till 11:30 am at the home zone and then switch to a lunch menu featuring an additional hot lunch option.
This change on the weekends allowed us to add a little more variety into the weekend menu, offering popular items like a baked potato bar, chicken parmigiana sandwich, and meatball grinders, all coming hot and fresh out of the deck oven. Omelets are still available till 1:00 pm and then we open up the pasta bar at 1:30 pm.” Additionally, the switch between breakfast and lunch during the week has been altered so that breakfast is served until 11:30 am.
In the 2018 fall dining survey, dessert was noted as an area that needed more attention in Chase Dining. “One of our bakers, Kevin Cabana, is now spending half of his time at Chase and working on creating some new delicious treats. Students have noticed the change and seem to appreciate Kevin’s efforts. We also heard that students wanted soft serve ice cream, so we are now alternating weeks serving ice cream and a lactose-free soft serve. It can be a challenge to make everyone happy but hopefully this change is helpful,” said O’Rourke.
Furthermore, Chase Dining has attempted to become more vegan-friendly. Earlier this semester, a meeting was held so that students could discuss how they create variety within the current program and also suggest areas that could be improved. O’Rourke stated that “we have a vegan station but vegans can eat at other stations within Chase. The suggestions were great and we are trying to implement as many as possible. They requested vegan nuggets, vegan mac & cheese and vegan mashed potatoes. We set up a group email and will be communicating changes as they are added into the program.” So far, vegan butter has been added to the gluten-free (GF) refrigerator. Vegan nuggets have been ordered, and O’Rourke plans to add them to the menu rotation. Vegan grilled cheese is available during late night on request or at the deli during the day, and O’Rourke is working on adding fried tofu, marinated tofu, and roasted tempeh to the salad bar glass refrigerator. In order to “build some fun and variety into the menu,” O’Rourke said, numerous events are planned to occur at Chase Dining. A few of the many events to look forward to this semester are as follows: February 27, burger bar with vegan options; March 1, hot chocolate bar; March 27, national nutrition month table; April 9, ballpark food for the opening day at Fenway; April 22, dining staff appreciation week; May 7, french fry bar.