Culinary Committee: Dishing out dietary needs survey

Grace Reeder

The CI labels potential allergens in foods as well as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

The CI labels potential allergens in foods as well as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

Many students have complained about the lack of options that the Campus Inn (CI) and the Spot have for those with restrictive diets. Last week, ASWC Campus Relations Director and Culinary Committee Chair Eryn Wells sent out a survey regarding dietary needs and restrictions of Whittier College students. 

One of the responsibilities of Culinary Committee, according to Wells, is to “be  a voice for students and their culinary needs on campus.” Over the last two years, the Culinary Committee has fielded questions, comments, and concerns pertaining to the CI, the Spot, and Bon Appétit catering in general. The Committee serves as the liaison between the students and Bon Appétit. 

It is unclear whether there is a specific point during the registration process where students can specify their dietary needs and restrictions. While Wells listened to constituents about their concerns regarding the CI, she became aware not only of the need for data regarding student’s dietary needs, but also their preferences. After meeting with the head chef, it became apparent there were only a few selections for those with a restricted diet. Director Wells thought that there should be more options for students, specifically more vegan, soy, gluten-free, nut-free options. 

The survey sent out by Wells will be open until Oct. 27, and it’s important that as many students as possible respond to it. The purpose of the survey is to have data to present to Bon Appétit to show the exact number of students who have special dietary needs and restrictions. “Once we have the numbers — let’s say there’s 200 students with nut allergies, then we can go back to Bon Appétit and say ‘you only have one dish that’s nut free, that’s not really serving our population,’” said Wells. 

Once the Culinary Committee has the data from the survey, they will be able to see the number of students with dietary needs and restrictions. Then they can bring those numbers to Bon Appétit, which will hopefully get them to modify the menus in the CI and Spot, if needed. However, in order for this to happen, students need to respond to the survey so they can bring accurate data to Bon Appétit. 

As of right now, the survey only has about 150 responses, which doesn’t reflect the student population as a whole, so it is important that more students respond to the survey so the Culinary Committee can show the CI and the Spot the needs of Whittier students. This survey will really determine the course of Culinary Committee’s agenda for this school year, as once they have the data regarding student preferences, needs, and restrictions, they will have a better sense of what the Committee need to focus on. 

The survey can be found in your Whittier email and is super quick and easy. Whittier has just under 1,700 students, and with the responses the survey has gotten so far, it is not an accurate depiction of the student body. The survey takes less than a minute to fill out, and students’ responses will really make a difference in the selections at the CI and Spot. However, student responses are needed for this to happen. Even if you do not regularly eat in the CI, this survey will help modify the Spot menu  if need be. However, it will not move forward without student participation. 

Culinary Committee meets Fridays at 9:30 a.m. in the ASWC senate office. If students have any questions or concerns regarding culinary issues, they are advised to go to those meetings and bring up those issues there. The Committee would really like to see more student involvement so that constituent concerns and input can be addressed. The survey will remain live until Oct. 27, this Friday, and can be found in student’s email.