Bon Appetit at Butler: Here’s what you can expect next year

JESSICA LEE | NEWS EDITOR | jelee2@butler.edu 

In order to get a taste of what Butler University students can expect from new dining provider Bon Appetit, the Butler Collegian travelled to DePauw University for a meal. Bon Appetit has been at DePauw since 2013.

Chad Melinger, executive chef of Bon Appetit at DePauw, said the school serves as a “mirror” for Butler. The dining service won’t look exactly the same, but the roles will be similar. DePauw has about 85 to 100 Bon Appetit employees, but Butler will probably have double the amount given the student population difference.

Butler and DePauw are also in the same district, which means some of their local food sources could be the same, as they fall within the 150-mile radius that classifies a farm as local. About 30 percent of DePauw’s food is from local farms — 10 percent more than the Bon Appetit goal for every location.

Photo by Jessica Lee

Melinger buys two whole cattle per week, which can turn into Halal meat for Muslim students, steak and baby back ribs. The prosciutto is homemade and so is their kimchi, a Korean vegetable. He recently bought a 92-pound parmesan cheese wheel from Italy; they will mix the pasta inside the wheel and serve straight from it.

The food brought to Butler will also depend on executive chef Jordan Hall and what students want to eat.

Paper surveys were available at multiple dining stations, and asked about helpfulness of staff, speed of service, quality of food, variety of food and overall value. DePauw also offers a biannual survey for students. After receiving feedback from DePauw students wanting more vegetarian options, Bon Appetit established Sprouts, a station specifically for vegetarians.

Photo by Jessica Lee

At every location, Bon Appetit mandates that managers interact with and serve students for a minimum of an hour every day.

Melinger has a “gift to gab” — a quality he said helps him get to know students on campus better, particularly their food preferences.

Emma Wittkowski, a junior sociology and studio art double major, is a vegetarian.

“I rarely come here and feel like I don’t have stuff to eat,” Wittkowski said.

Curry Stevens, a sophomore psychology major, said it is much better than the college he transferred from. Now, he actually eats to his heart’s desire.

First-year Lauren Lillis said some days are good, but the weekends are unreliable because some stations are closed.

“I don’t want to come and be disappointed, and sometimes I am,” Lillis said.

At Hoover Dining Hall, they have a consistent station: burgers, black-bean burgers, grilled chicken, fish and fries. Their salad bar will have 15 to 20 toppings, but depending on the season, the produce changes. The international station changes daily and often reflects the university’s high Pakistani population.

Butler students can try their first bite of Bon Appetit at April 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The school’s new food provider will have a food truck on Hampton Drive outside of Atherton Union.

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