To provide students and staff with healthier food options, Ithaca College Dining Services has introduced two new food venues to the Terrace Dining Hall this semester.
The first new station, Food Lab, was created to offer students more healthy, balanced meals. The other station, Simple Servings, is an allergen-free area.
Jeffrey Scott, general manager of Ithaca College Dining Services, said the goal of Food Lab is to make meal periods more dynamic. The concept was inspired by IC 20/20 to increase student experiential learning.
“This will assist people in terms of getting a nice balance and healthy spin on the menu,” Scott said.
Food Lab was added to Terrace Dining Hall as a result of frequent feedback from students requesting a greater selection of healthy foods. Scott said there are many tastes and dietary needs among the student body, so it is important to have a large selection.
The Food Lab is located where the pizza and pasta station used to be. There is also a new seating area in place of the fountains to create a learning area. The new area will also be used for seminars and lectures about food.
Some examples of the food being served at the Food Lab so far include ancho-lime chicken tacos, chicken and broccoli stir fry with jasmine rice and rigatoni arrabiata with tossed garden salad.
The Food Lab will have a new theme each week, such as health and wellness, nutrition, organic food and ethnic food.
“We want it to be something that’s living, breathing, evolving every day,” Scott said.
Televisions and cameras will be installed around spring break to offer background information on each week’s theme around the Food Lab area.
Scott said the Food Lab serves pre-plated food that provides the right portion size.
“This will assist people in terms of getting a nice balance and healthy spin on the menu.”
Scott said the Food Lab provides a hands-on learning experience by having the food visible rather than just talking about it in the classroom.
“The Food Lab is a great way to bring academics right into the dining hall,” Scott said.
Other feedback dining services has been getting from students is about food allergies and intolerances. Simple Servings is a new section in Terrace Dining Hall aimed to help those with food allergies. Over the past few years, Scott said, an increasing number of students with food allergies have requested attention in regards to dining options.
“Most students who come to Ithaca College want to have the normal dining and residential life experience, and we want to help them do that,” Scott said.
Simple Servings has a chef who prepares and plates food for each guest, creating a normal guest experience for those with food allergies without having to worry about preordering. The Simple Servings venue is located where the Exhibition Station used to be.
Scott said the dining hall is also in the process of building an allergen-free pantry, which will include items such as rice milk, snack bars and cereal to prevent risk of cross-contamination.
J.J. Molina, executive chef, said he has already heard great feedback about Simple Servings from students.
Freshman Sara Klusky, who can’t eat gluten, said Simple Servings makes eating in the dining halls easier.
“I can’t have gluten so it makes it a lot easier knowing that this food definitely doesn’t have any in it and that it still tastes good,” Klusky said.