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| Fall 2008/Winter 2009
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The main ingredient
The behind-the-scenes of the College’s dining services operation is impressive: walk-in coolers and freezers stocked with perishables; shelves of bulk-size containers of spices; and a fryer room where 1,100 meals per hour are prepared. The menu planning, ordering, delivery, preparation, and clean up is all managed by a staff of 30 full-time employees, 50 students, and Dining Services Director Mark Wirtz who refers to food service as a “practice makes perfect trade.” From the accounts of students and even presidential candidates, the dining services staff at Messiah has excelled at their trade!
The dining services staff was “energized,” according to Wirtz, to show off their culinary skills when Messiah hosted The Compassion Forum in April, an event that brought presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, campaign staffs, religious leaders, and more than 100 journalists to campus. Clinton’s team especially liked the chocolate cake, and Obama special ordered a grilled chicken breast with broccoli. So, besides the honor of preparing meals for two presidential candidates, it was a rather typical, upscale catering event for the dining services team, said Wirtz. However, it’s not presidential candidates that usually rate Messiah’s food, but the opinions of 2,800 students that really drive menu selections and the day-to-day dining experience.
Today’s restaurant patrons, including Messiah students, are seeking an interactive culinary experience, according to Wirtz, who has been a chef for more than 30 years. Responding to this trend, Messiah has developed made-to-order stations featuring fresh ingredients and the opportunity for the consumer to personalize their meal by selecting their favorites from among the ingredients. In the Falcon Express, a smaller, snack-shop type of restaurant located on the first floor of the Eisenhower Campus Center, the made-to-order stations have been well received by students and employees alike and have featured omelets, stir-frys, and Panini sandwiches. The Falcon Express was updated this summer with more create-your-own options.“The food service industry in general is trying to accommodate customers’ desire to participate in a more active style of dining,” says Wirtz. Plans are underway for the main student dining hall, Lottie Nelson, to undergo renovations to designate permanent space for made-to-order stations.
For fresh ingredients, dining service
looks no further than across the lawn to the
Grantham Community Garden, a student-initiated,
quarter-acre garden located near
the Jordan Science Center on campus.
Dining services “owns” 2/11 of the garden
and receives a variety of fresh vegetables
We welcome you to visit Messiah’s
eateries to leisurely enjoy a cup of coffee
before or after attending a Cultural Series performance, concert, or film on campus;
to grab a pizza to go for your family for
dinner; or to simply stop by for an ice
cream sandwich after a day on the Yellow
Breeches. Each of Messiah’s three campus
restaurants is open to walk-ins from the
public (find them on the campus map ).