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Bon Appetit offers sustainable fare

The University’s new head chef Justin Alarcon prepares side dishes of vegetables for lunch in Davenport Dining Hall. Working for Bon Appetit, La Verne’s new food service provider, Alarcon’s responsibilities include training kitchen staff. He has been a chef for 10 years. / photo by Denisse Leung

Brianna Means
Staff Writer

Already students are buzzing about the improved quality and taste of the food at Davenport Dining Hall the new taqueria at Barbara’s Place in the Campus Center.

Bon Appétit has replaced Sodexo as the University’s dining sevice.

“We observed the quality of service for both students and catering,” said Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs.

After finishing a multi-year contract, Sodexo and three other catering companies bid for another multi-year contract to provide meals in Davenport, staff Barbara’s Place and cater at events on campus.

The University also auditioned food service providers Aramark and Cornucopia.

“Bon Appétit stood out among the four because of their commitment to farm fresh food and their reputation among their other clients,” Rahmani said.

Bon Appétit also is committed to sustainability, including using seasonal locally grown produce; and the company supports humane farming pracitces.

Students agree that – so far – dining options have improved both in the freshness of food and consideration for healthy eating.

“The improvement in the quality of the food served at Davenport is evident after just one bite,” junior Robert Escamilla said.

“Our kitchen philosophy is rather simple,” Jennifer Lofland, general manager of Bon Appétit said. “We cook our food from scratch using fresh, authentic ingredients.

“We start with food in its simplest, most natural form, purchase local and seasonal products and make our food alive with flavor and nutrition,” Loftland said. “Our freezers are small and our intention to serve great food is big.”

Loftland also said the company takes its clients’ tastes to heart.

“We care about what our guests like and we care about their health,” she said.

“Our ethnic programs are crafted using hands-on research with real people in real kitchens to make sure that the flavors are real and authentic,” she said.

Bon Appétit uses only fruits and vegetables in season.

“The menus are written based on seasonality and availability of regional fresh product,” Lofland said, adding that many of their ingredients are organic.

As for the quality meat, Loftland said that the company does not use chicken, turkey or beef that are regularly given antibiotics or hormones.

Bon Appétit makes its own salsas, sauces and marinara from scratch in Davenport and Barbara’s Place daily.

Brianna Means can be reached at brianna.means@laverne.edu.

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