The face of food service at MCC has changed this semester.Chartwells, a company with 15 accounts across the valley ranging from ball park concession stands to hospital food service, now runs the Thunder Bird Café.
“We’re a food first company,” said Gene Walsh, Chartwells district manager.
In June, a committee of representatives from each MCCCD college came together to choose a new food service company. Each representative scored each proposal individual. Then, the proposal with the highest rating was chosen.
“It’s the overall averages of all the colleges,” said Kurt Conover, MCC Vice President of Administration and one of the representatives from MCC.
Chartwells has a 99 percent retention rate with current clients, according to Walsh.
“The most important thing to us is the quality of the food we serve,” said Walsh.
Lori Zienkewicz, MCC food and nutrition instructor, has a different opinion of the food Chartwells serves.
“There were fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and salads. But the fresh fruit was over-ripe, and everything looked pre-cut, like it was cut before it came into the facility,” said Zienkewicz.
Zienkewicz took into account freshness, the healthfulness of the food, and attentiveness to students with dietary needs, such as being vegetarian or vegan, when assessing Chartwells.
“I have to admit, I had a difficult time finding anything really of substance,” she said.
Pizza was what Zienkewicz observed most students eating.
“From a nutrition angle, a point of concern is that the pizzas are incredibly large,” she said.
The eight inch pizzas are now provided by Papa John’s.
“We’ve partnered with them and we use their products, their expertise in pizzas,” said Walsh.
A point of concern for Zienkewicz was the freshness of the fruit cups.
“If you look at the cantaloupe, and the pineapple that was in the cups, it’s drying on the outside. That’s not very appetizing,” said Zienkewicz.