Healthy Fare that's In Demand

C&U operators dish about nutritious food that faculty and students crave.

Sizzling Station
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Penn.

Situated next to the salad bar at Erdman Dining Hall at this college of 1,300 students is the Sizzling Station. Students select from an assortment of snap peas, baby corn, carrots, edamame and bean sprouts, choose from a rotation of brown, white or jasmine rice in the nearby rice cooker, and then prepare their own stir-fried meals over two burners. They can use sesame oil or vegetable oil, soy sauce, teriyaki, Old Bay seasoning, sesame seeds and Sriracha hot sauce. “Students at Bryn Mawr are independent and like doing things on their own,” says Joseph Ludwig, unit manager. “They decide how much or how little seasoning, how much oil. It gives them a feeling that they’re eating well—and they are.”

With 15% to 20% of the students from Asian countries, says Ludwig, the Sizzling Station helps them feel, food-wise, a little closer to home. “Gluten-free students also like the option when they can’t eat what’s on the line that night,” he adds. While he doesn’t have quantitative data, Ludwig says there is always a large group at the station with four or five people regularly waiting during lunch and dinner.

The idea was born four years ago when students were looking for more vegetarian options. Students were already making their own omelets in the morning, so the same station was converted into the stir-fry option for lunch and dinner. A student worker is assigned to the area to keep the utensils and pans clean and refresh items when necessary. The station is “front and center” in the serving area of the dining room. Initially, the station was marketed with signs and featured on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s no longer necessary—all the students know about it, says Ludwig “I’ve heard tour guides specifically mention it on their open house tours,” he says. The school’s small size makes such an option manageable, says Ludwig, and he hopes to add two more burners soon. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources