Lebanon Valley College

Renovation brought cooking to the front of the house.

When Metz Culinary Management took over the foodservices at 1,900-student Lebanon Valley College, in Annville, Pa., in 2010 the company also had the opportunity to jump in on a $13.3 million renovation project that transformed 500-seat Mund Dining Hall. According to Bill Allman, general manager for Metz at the account, the renovation was designed to highlight the company’s commitment to fresh food. The renovation, and new food options have led to record-breaking participation. “We served 1,200 meals a week more than we did last year,” Allman says. Allman sent FSDsome photos of the new space to showcase what this new dining hall has to offer.

Snapshots, Lebanon Valley College

Allman says the biggest focus of the renovation was to provide fresh food, which ultimately led to renovating the space to accommodate display cooking stations. At the Dutchman Grill, chefs prepare burgers, chicken fingers, fries, chicken sandwiches, quesadillas and burritos in front of the students.

“[This renovation has led to] our students developing relationships with our cooks,” Allman says. “We never had that before. The space used to be a traditional cafeteria line and our cooks were all back-of the-house people.”

To the right of the Dutchman Grill is the Bravo station, which serves cooked to order meals such as Asian noodle bowls, pastas and omelets for breakfast.

“That station has two induction cookers and then a Mongolian Grill.” Allman says.” When we are running the grill the students can choose their ingredients and hand them to the cook to make into a stir-fry. We also started a new concept this semester called the Foods of the World, which is where we’re trying to educate students on different cultures’ cuisines. We’re not doing the standard ethnic foods there, we’re doing things like an Irish meal and Moroccan food. Metz really strives to create restaurant-quality food and this station is a great showcase for that.”

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We do a monthly Meal In The Life, where residents of different cultures serve as our ambassadors and help coordinate the program. A couple of months ago it was Russia. We had a Russian-themed menu and a resident ambassador who got to wear a button and talk about the culture. We do an hors d’oeuvres session and a food demo, followed by a full-blown meal the next day in our dining room. The servers wear something special, and we have special music.

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