Fresh Squared is a new menu option that will be launched at Woodruff Dining Hall starting this fall semester. An official tasting was held Wednesday, July 22.
“We’re not renovating the current Woodruff,” said Ericlee Reed, the Residence Dining Executive Chef, referring to Georgia Tech’s plan to build a new West Campus dining hall in 2017. While the actual construction has not been planned yet, money from the existing budget has been allocated to improving food quality. “It’s going to have a different feel in flavor from its look and the menu and presentation.
This new program will feature distinct lunch and dinner menus. “We’re still going to have your favorites but we’re trying to expand the offerings at these stations.” said Brian Losonsky, the Resident Dining Director. For example, the deli option at the Wednesday preview consisted of a choice between two specialty sandwiches that already served on a plate along with the pre-existing salad bar.
In addition, Woodruff will be using more local ingredients in its food. “Right now we buy about 45% local, ”Reed said. They now plan is to source 65% of produce and meats from local providers. For example, a salad served on the day of the tasting consisted of hydroponic and pesticide-free lettuce from the R & G Farm in Dublin, Georgia.
“We took a different approach to traditional residence dining,” Reed said. “Instead of seeing a lot of pans and a lot of salads just on ice (referring to the current, buffet-style layout) we’re actually doing more individual style plates.” Students can expect to see one fully complete portion at each menu station in the dining hall, such as a ready-made hamburger or sandwich.
In addition, the menu will offer a wider variety of items offered on frequent rotation. “Not every day you’ll get a hamburger, grilled cheese sandwich, or a quesadilla,” Reed said, referring to the current hot food options offered in dining halls for lunch, dinner, and past midnight on a daily basis. “You might only see the fresh hamburgers twice a week… but you will see is that Purdue chicken breast that was raised down in Peach County, Georgia. You will see a couscous-chickpea patty instead of a frozen product.”
At the tasting, the lunch option from the grill consisted of a chipotle grilled chicken breast sandwich, while at dinner students could choose from an angus burger or a grilled three cheese and apples entrée. Vegan options were also offered. Students seemed ambivalent about the quality of food served. “The burgers were better… I think the buns were not as stale,” said Henry Leung, a second year computer science major. “[but] I think my taste buds have been addled with poor quality food for the entire semester.”
The primary goal for this new initiative is to improve the overall quality of the West Campus dining experience. “Woodruff has all its residents living around it so the goal is to make it more like a neighborhood feel and a place where people want to go spend time here, not just eat,” Losonsky said.