By Sarah Anthony, Contributing Writer
Good food, local partnerships and a more modern design are all top priorities for the Food Service department this year. So far, this means adding fresh produce and healthier options to the menu, introducing the Farm-to-Fork buffet line and hanging color-coded signs.
One of the ways the cafeteria modernized was making signs that look like apps, as a way of relating more to students.
“Students are really used to technology and apps, so the signs were a quick way for them to easily identify things they want to include or not include in their diets,” said Tina Miller, the Food Service director who joined the kitchen staff this past May. “An app is a quick way to get a reference, so we’re hoping the signs will make finding things quicker and easier.”
The new signs are there to “better identify food,” Miller said. “There have been increased requests for gluten free items, and a lot of students are trying to eliminate gluten from their diet.” The signs also differentiate local and regional produce, and healthy and vegetarian options.
Miller also expressed the need to help visitors have an easier time getting food in the cafeteria. “We don’t want to solely identify gluten free items, but identify all items to make them easier to find.”
The new Farm-to-Fork menu consists of completely local and regional foods and showcases local farms each week.
“We want to focus on being Kentucky Proud and want that for students as well,” Miller said.
The Farm-to-Fork menu was also created to be a specialty item day, compared to Baked Pasta Tuesday or Spicy Chicken Thursday.
Students who have noticed the changes are responding positively.
“I love the idea of supporting local farmers! The Farm-to-Fork movement has been huge for small farms in the area and I commend Asbury for taking steps to support their community, ” said senior Abigail Foster.
The staff also plans to include more “chef-inspired food ” in hopes that these specialties will remind students of home cooking.
These additional changes will eventually make their way to the Bistro, which will be partnering with the art department for more signs.
“We want to have signs hanging from the ceiling that will indicate where the Bistro and the Art Gallery are and leading to them upstairs.” Miller hopes to see a more streamlined process and increased productivity in the Bistro this upcoming year as well.
“Our goal is to make [the Bistro] efficient and get the orders through as quickly as possible,” Bistro manager Jeffrey Shafer said in regards to what the Bistro has been working on recently. “We’re trying to make the menu reflect what people want seasonally,” Shafer said, discussing the anticipated changes for the Bistro’s food selection this year. This emphasis on seasonally-themed foods will include signature items, salads, soups and desserts. He also added that more of the desserts will be homemade.
Miller said it has been fun interacting with all the students and would love to see more involvement while strengthening the community.
“We appreciate feedback because we’re always looking to improve things,” Miller said, “We need to make sure that this new program is running consistently and accurately so we can continue improving and enhancing the program and make additional changes.”