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.
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.”
This student is enjoying the fruits of the vast salad bar, which features more than 40 selections.
“We offer about six different composed salads a day that are made fresh,” Allman says. “The salad bar is also where we try to showcase our local produce when available. The salad bar is also an area where we get creative and try to offer folks different things such as a different hummus each day.”
The salad bar also features three homemade soups per day. Another cool feature is that one side of the salad bar is completely gluten-free so students with special dietary needs can avoid cross contamination by sticking to that side of the station.
“We do a lot with gluten-free items,” Allman says. “We also are promoting the health benefits of eating a gluten-free diet. There are studies that show if you are feeling sluggish or getting migraines reducing the amount of gluten you eat might help with that.”
The LVC deli offers made-to-order sandwiches as well as a daily sandwich special.
“The Deli offers a mix of fresh toppings, freshly sliced meats and cheeses, chicken, egg and tuna salad and an assortment of housemade baked breads, rolls and wraps,” Allman says. “We’ve introduced two Panini presses to that station and a Turbo Chef oven for toasting like they do at Subway.”
Next to the deli is the hall’s brick oven pizza station, which offers pizza and pasta, including a baked pasta of the day. Allman notes that the department also makes its own gluten-free pizza dough. Students are allowed to take items to go and the department provides biodegradable, as well as reusable, takeout containers to encourage sustainability. The dining hall is also trayless.
Another new initiative for the department is Metz Nutrition 101, which provides students with small facts about healthy eating.
“That program is at our Cuisine station, which is where we feature a carving station for lean proteins. This is also where we offer vegetarian-based protein selections and gluten-free entrees.”
Behind these girls at the beverage station is the Signature Entrees station, which is where the department serves comfort food items with a twist.
“So we will serve meatloaf but it will be meatloaf that is better than most,” Allman says. “Again, we are always striving for restaurant-inspired food. We always have two entrees, two starches and two vegetables at that station. All of our vegetables are fresh and never frozen.”
The dining area features seating approximately 550 people and can be divided into private meeting space.