Creative Dining Report Card: Kalamazoo College Dining Service Shows Promise

By Justina Kilumelume, Staff Writer

I was one of the few students who weren’t really looking forward to the change in food providers, and I was really reluctant to believe that Creative Dining would bring any impressive changes, but I was proven wrong. Being one of the first students to taste the food on the Dining Services’ first day in the cafeteria, I was very impressed. The presentation of the food was great, the taste was delicious, the fruits and vegetables were fresh, and the fruit juices tasted like 100% real fruit juice.

However, halfway through the quarter, the variety definitely wasn’t the same as it was at the beginning of the quarter. There were also inconsistencies in breakfast and brunch options, sometimes there was variety being offered. But most of the time, it’s the same food.

Even though the vegetarian and vegan line has seen an increase in variety, it hasn’t been consistent enough. Colin Klein, a sophomore who is a vegan, says “I was very excited at the beginning of the quarter to see that they had great vegan options. They even had vegan ice-cream and yoghurt but once they ran out, they didn’t bring it out any more.”

Klein says that the vegetarian and vegan section has definitely improved since last year, and that the responses to his concerns and suggestions have been very good.  “They are more creative, and there are more meals and not just side dishes,” he says.

I was also a little bit disappointed, but I was still trying to be optimistic. Earlier this quarter in an interview with James Chantanasombut, the Director of Dining Services said, “The first year is really all about just soaking it all in and really learning how everything works.”

Chantanasombut is putting a lot of effort into making the dining experience as inclusive as possible by getting input from students.

Chantanasombut is also working on improving the variety of food on the international line by getting inputs from international students, which is great for international students like me, who live on campus and eats in the cafeteria every day.

Last week, Jie Xu, an international student from China, was allowed to make Chinese rice porridge with pumpkin, which many students liked. This makes me even more optimistic and confident that La Fiesta Desi Soul is going to be awesome this year if Dining Services is willing to let us cook some of our own dishes.

For the most part, I am definitely impressed with the overall service, despite the few inconsistencies and the lack of variety, which I’m very sure they are working on. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who pointed this out in the survey. There have been major improvements in the whole cafeteria.

If I had to describe the improvement using grades A to D, the improvement in variety in the dessert section being number one on my list would get an A. The improvement in quality of foods on the grill line gets a B. The Home line gets a B as it still needs more variety, less pasta and rice. The vegetarian section gets a C, and the fruits and veggies get a B.

For overall service, Kalamazoo Dining service gets a solid B from me. There are so many improvements they’ve achieved in this short time, but there’s still room for improvement. We can only hope that the improvement will continue over the next two quarters.