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Bon Appetit prepares display foods

Bon Appetit uses fruits and vegetables as displays on campus. Once the produce is done as a decoration, chefs at Founders and the Tea Shop prepare them for meals. (Annie O'Hare)

The dining facilities at Mills are decorated with buckets and pots of fresh produce. According to the dining management’s policy, most of these edible decorations will eventually be used in menu items.

“If we display it, we have to use it.” Executive Chef Jaime Dominguez said.

Dominguez estimates Bon Appetit at Mills spends $300 a week on decor, 60% of which is spent on reusable decor, or produce.

Jason Landau, General Manager of Bon Appetit at Mills, said edible displays have been part of the decor plan for all 6 years he has worked at Mills.

Landau said the produce is usually rotated every three days, depending on the tenacity of the food.

Katrina Clay, a cashier and barista at the Tea Shop, said the perishable decor is wrapped up and put in the fridge every night.  Cafe supervisor of the Tea Shop, Katie Mamlok, explained that the produce will usually spend about a week there, then be sent up the hill to Founders where it is washed, sanitized and cooked. Mamlok said only a small amount of the produce is used in the Tea Shop because it does not serve as much food as Founders.

The catering by Bon Appetit also incorporates edible decor. It is not uncommon to see an unattended catering cart on campus holding a few galvanized metal buckets with red apples peaking over the edge.  These carts are waiting to be picked up by Bon Appetit staff after an event. The vulnerable fruit proves a temptation for some students.

“My friends and I always want to grab some of the fruit” Senior April LaTorre said of the displays.

When asked about the policy regarding lifted display fruit, Dominguez is encouraging.

“Help yourself,” he said, as long as the produce gets eaten. “It’s just food, and food is what we love.”

Landau pointed out that the quoted price of a given catering service includes the decor, so whomever paid for the catering has paid for the whole set up. On the Bon Appetit @ Mills website  the company states that whomever ordered the service is responsible for anything that happens to decor items and will be obliged to pay for replacement.