Wellesley Fresh has introduced many exciting elements to Wellesley’s on campus dining experience this semester. Its monthly newsletter has interesting information on all things dining hall and food related. The newsletter contains easy-to-make recipes suitable to be made in a residence hall kitchen, pertinent information regarding new delicious eats available at different dining halls and other interesting facts. Wellesley Fresh has exciting events planned for the fall, all of which can also be found on its Fall Events Banner.
Keith Tyger, campus executive chef, plans the menu and programming for all foodservice locations on campus. Tyger works closely with many staff members to ensure their success in the operations of their respective dining facilities, including Vinicio Cordon and Lorenzo Gayle, the two new chef managers at Lulu and Tower, respectively.
Lorenzo and Chef Vinicio are taking in Tower and the Lulu. They are both very experienced chefs with unique talents and styles,” Chef Tyger said. “As always, we strive to serve the freshest, most flavorful food and highest quality food we can. All of the special dining events, such as bread and cheese night and lobster night are all great fun and allow the Wellesley Fresh team to create unique themed items.”
Wellesley Fresh has added a local seafood vendor that will provide fresh ingredients, including local calamari, fillet fish and shellfish. It has continued its partnership with Niman Ranch, which provides it hormone, nitrate and anti biotic free meats. It is also part of the Produce Alliance, which ensures that local produce supplied from New England is especiallyfresh.
One of the new features that has been introduced this semester is a two day menu for desserts. With many students taking classes off campus, Wellesley Fresh has received a lot of feedback about how students were missing their favorite desserts because they were in class. This is therefore one possible way to allow everybody to enjoy the desserts. Additionally, many grill stations previously served the same menu for lunch and dinner. Another new feature this semester is the separate grill menus for each meal, adding even more variety to the food choices available.
Lori Davidson is the pastry chef at Claflin Bakery. Together with her team, she is responsible for all the desserts and a majority of bread on campus, with the exception of Pomeroy Hall where food ismade within the dining hall. The focus for this semester is onfresh, flavorful and fun desserts, including lots of fruit, fall flavors and fun event themed items.
Dining halls also now feature vegan desserts Monday through Friday and have been steadily increasing the variety and frequency of delicious vegan options that are pleasing to both the vegan and non-vegan population on campus. Wellesley Fresh is also beginning to introduce more vegan breakfast options. In addition, WellesleyFresh is growing its bread program. Davidson and her team make all the hamburger buns, white and wheat sliced bread, French baguettes, focaccia and other artisan breads for the dining halls. The aroma of the baked goods floats around Claflin each morning.
Claflin Bakery is currently working on increasing all whole grain options for both breakfast and dessert items. Davidson and her team are looking for ways to make the pastries delicious and healthier, and have, for example, substituted whole wheat flour for white flour, and added grains and seeds to many popular items. They want to ensure that students on campus are able to enjoy having a sweet item without feeling unhealthy and do so through keeping portion sizes small so students can enjoy a ‘little’ something sweet or can try a couple of bites of everything.
“I am always super excited for the Claflin Extravaganza in October at Tower Courtyard. That is the bakeshops big showcase event every year. We tend to make items that are not usually featured in our day to day production, plus some fan favorites,” Davidson said.
Kevin Kesterson is chef manager at Bates dining hall. Kesterson is responsible for writing menus and planning all campus wide special events, Grab ’N’ Go for the Emporium and the Leaky Beaker, the bag lunch program and the food for Collins Cafe.
“One of the events I am looking forward to is defending my Chili Cook Off Championship. I am undefeated in Campus Cooking Events and I intend to keep it that way!” Chef Kesterson said. “Our goals have always remained the same, to provide outstanding food and customer service. To do so, we incorporate two things, student involvement and student feedback.”
Some of the ways that students can help with improving the dining experience on campus is to be mindful of wasting food and to prevent additional food waste from having to go to compost. The chefs are always willing to accommodate and can customize a plate for a smaller or larger portion than what is displayed at plated dining stations. Students can also help by filling out comment cards. Wellesley Fresh can use the “good” comments to figure out the dishes or items that are hits and let the cooks know that their work is appreciated. The “not so good” cards are used to discover which items are enjoyed less or which recipes need to be altered. Dining hall staff also appreciate students letting them know about issues such as finding a milk machine empty, receiving a plate of food that may be cold, or another quality issue. The dining halls are also looking to hire, and staff members would love to work with students.
Wellesley Fresh is also looking forward to working with the Dining Services Advisory Board, which is composed of food representatives from each residence hall. They meet directly with managers from Wellesley Fresh to give feedback from House Council meetings and teas. Among the fun dining-related activities that the community can look forward to are the New England Clam Bake on Sept. 22, the Apple Festival on Sept. 30 and Bread and Cheese on Oct. 1.