New Director of Dining Services Implements Programs Catered to Students
Backer Dining Hall. PHOTO BY CLAIRE AYDELOTTE.
BY CLAIRE AYDELOTTE
Westminster’s Backer Dining Hall is often known for being predictable and having limited options. However, recent additions to the Fresh Ideas’ staff have brought promising changes to the dining hall service.
Shana Trager, appointed as the new director of dining services this past March, has been leading these changes and is ready to improve Westminster’s dining services.
Since Trager’s shift from catering director to the director of dining services, there have been noticeable differences in Westminster’s dining services. For example, Westminster now has a chef in the kitchen after not having had one for nine months. Chef Tom is the newest member of the Fresh Ideas staff. He can often be spotted working in the dining hall during evening meals or monitoring food prep. Chef Tom has shifted to more fresh food and less pre-fabricated food.
Trager said that the dining hall staff wants to “make sure Fresh Idea’s food is actually fresh.”
Trager and Chef Tom are also trying to provide more vegan and vegetarian options, Trager said.
She said that Fresh Idea’s purpose is to cater to the student body. She added that to better cater to students’ needs and preferences, students need to be more involved in providing input on their experience.
A simple way to become involved is to use comment cards located next to the cash register in the dining hall. These cards, which dining services made available earlier in the month, are meant to be filled out with either a suggestion or request and then dropped in the box, which is checked weekly. Trager said that there will soon be suggestion cards in the Johnson College Inn as well.
Chef Tom said that he encourages those with vegan or vegetarian diets to submit recipes since he and the staff have less experience providing for those regimens.
Although Trager, Chef Tom and the rest of the Fresh Ideas team have been working hard to implement immediate changes, they are also excited for the upcoming year, Trager said. She has alluded to having student volunteers deliver near-expiration-date food to the school’s food pantry, and has also discussed the possibility of Fresh Ideas hosting an event to spread awareness of food waste.
She said that she has several plans for dining services for the future, but she made it was clear that the only way that these changes can come about is if the Fresh Ideas team and the student body work together.