University News

Dining halls add seasonal food, crepe bar

Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New dining hall options will include local ingredients and additions such as a crepe bar and an allergen-free pantry.

Over the summer, the University’s two main dining halls underwent a series of minor changes, including additions to the Sharpe Refectory dining area and new food options with an emphasis on local produce.

“We wanted to focus our menus around our most popular recipes, offer seasonal variety, more sustainable proteins and increased fish offerings, more fresh fruit and vegetables with more color and more crunch,” wrote Brown Dining Dietitian Gina Guiducci in an email to The Herald.

This includes adding a new variety of fresh vegetables, like beets, fennel, corn and carrots, wrote Executive Chef John O’Shea in an email to The Herald. Breakfast will incorporate more seasonal fruit, and students will also see more seasonal local New England food, Guiducci wrote. 

More accommodations have also been made for special diets, such as using gluten-free soy sauce and providing vegetarian “sausage” at Sunday brunch, she wrote.

The Ratty’s Sunday brunch will also now feature a crepe bar, which has so far been “the biggest hit,” she wrote.

Changes to the facilities include a new television and new seating in the back alcove of the Ratty and a new television in the main dining room, wrote Claire Sidla, director of residential dining, in an email to The Herald. 

A new allergen-free pantry was installed in the main dining room of the Ratty as an addition to the Medical Dietary Accommodations program. New tray holders will “support our ongoing semi-trayless efforts and overall commitment to sustainability,” Guiducci wrote.

The “Tastes of the World” line at the Ratty has been renamed the “Chef’s Corner.” The change was made to broaden the variety of options the line was able to serve, to add more new alternatives and to have more chef demonstrations to showcase culinary talent, O’Shea wrote.

Though some students did not notice the changes, most offered overwhelmingly positive reactions. The crepe bar is a welcome addition that livens up Sundays at the Ratty, which can otherwise be somewhat bland, said Chris Janigian ’13. 

“I really enjoy the seasonal fruits,” said June Choo ’13.

Students also said they like the seating additions in the back alcove, which come on the heels of last semester’s overhaul of the dining room’s front alcove. These areas are “conducive to studying,” said Corey Scult ’13.

Students suggested various improvements the Ratty could make, such as getting bigger glasses and serving more fresh vegetables.

Brown Dining Services is self-funded, and changes and improvements to services are paid for using surplus revenue from the previous year, wrote Ann Hoffman, director of administration and human resources, in an email to The Herald. The structure of the student meal plan has not changed from last year, but a meal credit is now worth $6.60, up from last year’s $6.40, she wrote. No concrete plans have been finalized to keep the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall open on weekends, she wrote.

Special events in the Ratty this semester will include Wednesday dinner chef demos, pep rallies before most home games, a chili and bread bowl special and other seasonal specialties, Guiducci wrote.