By Talon Contributor Sarah Garcia ’15
The clock strikes 12:50 p.m. and anticipation grows as the wait comes to a close. Every upper division student prepares for what’s coming, the final seconds to end our stomach grumbling. Every item’s packed up and conversation ceases as each student awaits the start of lunch.
This is the daily situation for every junior and senior, and occasional sophomore, at Chaminade, including 56 seniors polled by Nikolai Norona ’14, Casey Oetomo ’14, and Eric Fusselman ’14 for their U.S. Government class taught by Mrs. Jill Stewart, Social Sciences instructor.
The goal was to discover almost-alums’ opinion on cafeteria food tastiness and service. Seniors surveyed want more menu options and found that the tastiness of our cafeteria food falls just a little above average.
While all seniors were polled, a random sample of 28 female and 16 male students was chosen. Six said they never ate in the cafeteria, 10 ate less than once a week, four ate there once a week, 14 said they ate two- to four-days per week, and 12 said they ate cafeteria food every day. There was no explanation in the survey for discrepancy in random sample numbers.
Asked to rate the quality of the food on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being best, tastiness came in at a bit above average at about a 6.5.
However, seniors polled found the healthiness of the food only at a 4.
“I think our cafeteria food is definitely healthier than that of other schools but it could still use some tweaking to be considered completely healthy,” Emma Hoffman-Davies ’15, who is gluten intolerant, told The Talon.
Miss Hoffman-Davies noted portions were, well, out of proportion.
“Portions are not big enough for healthier food groups and too big for unhealthy food groups,” she said in an email, citing the too-large amount of rice in the chicken rice bowl. “White rice is heavily processed and has less fiber and more carbohydrates than brown rice, yet there is no brown rice in any of the rice dishes. (See rebuttal UPDATE in comment box below).
“Pretty much all the cafeteria dishes are like that. The carbs outweigh the protein and veggies, like in the sandwiches.”
When asked if the menu needs more options, about 61 percent polled agreed and about 26 percent said prices were steep.
Sophomore Brian Gilmartin told The Talon via email he thinks the food at Chaminade is expensive “considering the options for eating, and the quality of the food prepared.” Miss Hoffman-Davies agreed, noting the higher expense of healthier food offerings like a fruit bowl compared to less expensive and less healthy items such as french fries.
Mrs. Stewart added that she expected most of the survey results because she “know[s] that many of my students try to eat healthy and often pack their own lunch in order to be able to eat the most healthy foods.
“They often tell me that they wish there were more healthy options and more of a variety in food.”
What was unexpected by Mrs. Stewart was the only 26 percent who believed the food was too expensive.
“Seniors can leave campus a couple of days a week and eat lunch where they like and many of the places they go provide food at the same cost or less than what they would pay in the cafeteria,” she said. “I expected seniors to complain more about the price.”
Mr. Sid Lopez, director of our cafeteria services, addresses why the West Hills Chaminade Cafe serves long-grain white rice in its meals, in his comments below.