In a movement back toward normalcy and community, Bon Appetit Management Company has reintroduced china dishes and regular silverware to the dining hall, according to Bon Appetit Manager David Apthorpe.
“This is a step that we can take to get back to a more normal style of service,” Apthorpe said.
The decision was made in consideration to sustainability issues and a desire for community, he said. Disposable utensils and dishwares did not reflect Bon Appetit’s commitment to either goal, according to Apthorpe.
“However good the food that we make is, it never tastes as good on paper,” Apthorpe said.
The process of reintroducing chinaware was meant to be gradual in order to get the sanitation processes under control.
Getting the dish machine in order and “making sure that we could run things and that the wheels wouldn’t fall off” factored into the decision to make the transition after spring break, Apthorpe said. This would also help students transition from the expectation of taking their food to go. He added that he believes it will be a challenge to change this expectation because the use of disposables was convenient.
“So what we want to get back to is the original model or how the hub of the model of your family dining room food service is supposed to get,” Apthorpe said.
To accommodate for students who are not yet comfortable eating in crowded spaces, the dining hall still will package meals to-go. All students have to do is order through the Transact Mobile Order app.
“All the plates go through 185 degree distribution with sanitizer included so we feel that the dishes and silverware are sanitized,” Apthorpe said. “We’re trying to partner with the vision and the mission of the college, and that is to return to normalcy.”
He added that the timeline to return to other aspects of the original dining hall experience, such as self-serving salad bars and the veggie bar, is very short. Though “things can change rapidly,” Apthorpe said they plan to reintroduce those aspects before the semester is over.
Benito Suero, Apthorpe’s successor as general manager, said he agrees that Bon Appetit’s decision reflects the college’s mission.
“We are very much looking forward to continuing to be aligned with the college philosophy, to try to return to as much as we can,” Suero said. “So the familiarities like with the red bowls, things of that nature, does promote more of the community feel and more of that familiarity.”
Senior Rachel Stanford said she is glad the china is back in the dining hall. Though she appreciated the convenience of the disposable dishes, she said she thinks this promotes more of the community the college aspires to.
“I think if you’re a freshman, then you could call it like a taste of what experience you’re supposed to have when you first came here,” Stanford said. “You’re finally getting what the community is actually supposed to be like.”