On Monday, Anthony Baker, Aramark food services director, and Jason Timmons, newly-hired executive chef, met with about a dozen students to discuss Aramark’s relationship with Capital.
“The Dine with the Director program allows us to receive small-group feedback to help drive the program forward to benefit the student body,” Baker said. “The first program had the entire student government, and we got a lot of good information out of it.”
At the second rendition of the program, Baker introduced the new executive chef, Timmons.
“I came up a couple of weeks ago and [Capital has] such a great campus and facility,” Timmons said. “I have been learning about the school and I feel like I’ve gotten a hand on what can be done here.”
Timmons is particularly excited about meeting more of the student body as he establishes himself in his new position.
“I’m glad to be here and [Dine with the Director] is a great opportunity to talk to you, the students, and see what feedback you can give us,” Timmons said.
Baker is excited to have Timmons in the kitchen and is looking forward to seeing what Timmons will be doing with the menu during the remainder of the fall semester.
Timmons plans to build his own menu that will start in January.
“Chef Jason [Timmons] has a lot of talent,” Baker said. “We are happy to have him on board to bring greater flavors and varieties to the menu.”
The first topic brought to the discussion by a student was a proposal for more special events in the Main Dining Room (MDR).
Timmons would like to introduce fried chicken Wednesdays in the near future, and the idea was met with excitement at the meeting. Timmons also wants to bring a home-cooked meal feeling to the cafeteria and encourages suggestions from students.
“Chicken is a down-home food that is really good,” Timmons said. “If there is [a meal] that you want to see made, maybe something your mom does real well, talk to me and we’ll see what we can make happen.”
Additional special event ideas being considered include a chili cook-off, a mac and cheese cook-off, an Iron Chef-type competition involving student chefs, as well as a culinary club.
Another student asked for clarification about the meal plan, particularly as it pertains to guest swipes.
“Meal plans are designed for each student alone, and not for each student and all his or her friends,” Baker said. “That is why each student is given only five guest swipes … each semester.”
A big topic of discussion was the downgraded night menu in One Main Café. The original menu was downgraded due to the kitchen not being designed for nearly 600 transactions per night.
“The current night menu we run allows us to bring meals efficiently,” Baker said. “We are running certain specials now to see what else students are enjoying.”
Timmons is particularly looking forward to the option One Main provides him.
“[One Main Café] has loads of opportunity,” Timmons said. “It excites me from a creative standpoint, to change the menu around but keep it executable and dynamic for the students.”
A student offered her concerns regarding the current dining hours at both the MDR and One Main. As a result of similar concerns, Baker said, the grill station, deli station, and salad bar are open all day. Aramark is currently considering opening the pizza station all day.
At a suggestion for more variety, Baker and Timmons assured that proper measures are being taken.
“Our job is first to serve safe food, and second to serve good food,” Timmons said.
Baker announced that Aramark had just received a cotton-candy machine, which will be opened soon in the MDR. A soft serve ice cream option is also being considered for next semester.
A new tablet-technology system will also be introduced that is more user-friendly for Aramark employees and more convenient for students.
Currently there is a discussion in motion about a text-ordering system for students, as long as funding permits.
Both Baker and Timmons felt positively about the second Dine with the Director program’s results.
“Once again we had a very engaging group and we got great feedback and an overall great experience,” Baker said.