Students question the quality of campus food

Chefs Andrew Eith and Timothy Wright prepare grilled fish tacos with mango slaw for a food demonstration introducing Kent States new mindful menu items. Photo courtesy of Kent State Dining Services.

Chefs Andrew Eith and Timothy Wright prepare grilled fish tacos with mango slaw for a food demonstration introducing Kent State’s new “mindful” menu items. Photo courtesy of Kent State Dining Services.

Out of the 27,500 students registered at Kent State, 6,200 of them live on campus. This means that 22.5 percent of the student body has daily access to the food provided by the university.

With 22 on-campus restaurants, dining halls and coffee carts, students can’t complain about the variety and availability of food at Kent. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or meal, Eastway has both a market and dining hall and late night comfort food can be found at Rosie’s, a restaurant found in Tri-Towers that is open 24 hours.

However, with much of the student body consuming the same food on a day-to-day basis, it’s natural to have some questions about what is being provided to students.

“I think I would like to know where the food comes from?” said sophomore American sign language major Michelle Hutt.

Sophomore communications major Khaliah Shafeeq voiced similar concerns, but had one additional question.

“I’ve always wanted to know if the food they’re giving us is fresh,” Shafeeq said. “I eat the food here on campus every day. It’s pretty good, but I’ve always wondered about the quality. I think a lot of students do.”

Director of Dining Services, Richard Roldan, was able to give some insight into where exactly Kent State’s food is coming from.

About 90 percent of the campus’ produce comes from Sirna & Sons Produce which is located in Ravenna.

“Sirna & Sons Produce is our main provider,” Roldan said. “They’ve got local and seasonal produce, anything we need. Five days a week we get a delivery from a Sirna & Sons refrigerator truck. Every unit on campus has their own delivery and account.”

Roldan said that all food on campus is definitely fresh, and if it’s not, it is quickly sent back.

“The good thing about produce is that you can tell when it’s not good anymore,” he said. “Tomatoes start losing their firmness. Apples get wrinkly. We go through so many products here that we usually don’t have a problem having un-fresh stuff. We toss food when it doesn’t look edible anymore and it’s not fresh.”

Roldan also stresses that all employees and chefs in dining services are under the same understanding regarding the quality of campus food.

Junior special education major, Alexandra Scaravilli is also a student leader at Eastway Café.

“Working here, I noticed that the food is really fresh,” Scaravilli said. “We bring it right out the oven, serve it and keep it in hot warmers. And if we run out, we refresh it with brand new stuff. It’s the same with the fruit. They cut it up and put it right out, and once it’s gone it’s cut up again.”

Scaravilli insists that all procedures in the kitchen ensure that students are getting the best quality food.

Cold produce is kept in the fridge while hot foods are kept in hot warmers. Food is kept covered and protected and temperatures of are taken every hour, she said.

 “We get a new storage of food every day and employees do what they’re supposed to do to make sure everything with the food is OK,” Scaravilli said. “I don’t think students have anything to worry about.”


Contact McKenzie Jean-Philippe at [email protected].