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Students say new food fills stomachs but empties pockets

As senior Paula Tejeda cut through a 95 cent lemon in the Tea Shop, she lamented over the changes in food services: the loss of the large hardwood tables that allowed for big groups to meet in the Tea Shop, and the decrease of vegetarian options at Founders.

Tejeda, who was eating a salad -a seemingly popular choice- said, “I don’t like anything they’re serving.I’m eating nothing but salad.”

The menu was created by Executive Chef Susan Hunter. Bon App‚tit’s General Manager David Wilson said he met with about “half a dozen” students with special dietary concerns. He encourages students to visit Bon App‚tit’s “open kitchen” to share comments and suggestions, and the Mills community can also email him or Chef Hunter at

“We think prices are low and values are high,” said
Wilson. “We’re still a lot cheaper than other educational establishments. ÿA lot of people are glad we’re here.”

Senior and commuting student Raquel Menjivar said that the new food is good, but expensive. Before Bon App‚tit, she said she would spend about $10 a day on school food. Now she spends almost $20 a day, usually buying only “a cup of fruit in the morning and a sandwich and salad at lunch.”

Carolynn Webb, also a senior who lives off-campus, said that she finds the new menu to be limited and the prices too expensive. ÿAs a vegan, she has only one pre- packaged meal to choose from in a hurry, the veggie wrap, which she feels is “kind of greasy,” for $4.75.

Sophomore Amanda Bailey said the fruit selection is, “amazing,” and sophomore Anna Tome said she appreciates all the fresh fruit that is no longer “guarded.”

While most told me the food tastes better, not all responses were positive. Sophomore Holly Vickers, a vegetarian who worked at Founders last year, said she finds the loss of the vegetarian line frustrating and the current section-system silly.
“The [section] saying ‘global’ is the same as what they have in ‘classics.'” ÿAnd she said that not having a solid vegetarian section does not make sense since so many people on campus do not eat meat.

Tome agreed that though Founders’ food is better, the problem now is the structure of the meal plans. “[Mills staff] doesn’t cater to us as students; they treat us as if we’re clients.”

The most common response to Bon App‚tit among students was that the prices have increased, yet Founders’ food quality has also greatly improved. To find out for myself, I finagled two meals, Sunday’s brunch and Monday’s dinner.

Brunch was disappointing compared to the frozen yogurt filled waffle sandwiches covered in candy that many of us enjoyed last year. ÿAll those items are absent now, which displeases many students.ÿI sampled favorites like refried beans, formerly tasty at Founders, but at the moment tasted like dishwater and cellulose. Sophomore Hannah Forsberg and I miss the guacamole in the salad bar. For vegetarians and vegans, brunch included rice, beans, hash browns and tater tots, and most of the extensive salad bar. The scrambled eggs, always a touchy item that I tend to only like homemade, were in fact light, fluffy, and fresh, and still possessed that buttery- egg richness.

Monday’s dinner featured pizza, chicken parmesan, beef lasagna, spaghetti and fried rice as entrees. ÿThe chicken parmesan was a bit oily, but the chicken tasted and felt less processed than last year, as did the beef in the lasagna. ÿThe sauce was a little tart, but decent, sprinkled with green herbs, and I even found a whole clove of garlic under layers of al dente pasta. The roasted potatoes and veggies supplemented non-meat servings, but the potatoes were undercooked. ÿThe one cake, strawberry shortcake, did not tempt me at all, and I later heard my dining companions complain that the cakes were barely defrosted. ÿAs much as I always wanted the frozen yogurt to be ice cream, boy did I miss that fro-yo. ÿSo, instead I had frosted mini-wheats for dessert, but I wondered what the deal was with the tiny tongs.

I plodded out of Founders feeling healthier than after a former Founders meal, but also wishing Mills would adjust our meal plans for inflation.