Tag Archives: cafeteria

maple bacon cronut

The Cronut Comes to USF!

One of the trendiest new pastries makes an appearance in our very own caf!

     After reading the title, some of you may be asking what exactly is a cronut? I asked the same thing when I first heard about it on the USF campus. A cronut is a new type of pastry that uses dough similar to that of a croissant, but is fried and glazed the same way as a donut. Basically it is a delicious fusion of two classic pastries. Depending on where you go, multiple flavors of glazes are available and sometimes fillings such as custard or jelly.

Chef Dominique Ansel of New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery is the creator of the cronut. Since its debut in May of this year the cronut has been desired worldwide. The Dominique Ansel Bakery trademarked the idea of the cronut and ever since word got out dupes of the hybrid pastry have been popping up around the world in places like Berlin, Australia, Los Angeles and now right here at USF!

After doing a little research about what exactly cronuts are and hearing about them multiple times around campus, I obviously had to try one for myself. The Market Café on campus has several different types of cronuts to choose from. A few that I spotted were cinnamon and sugar, mixed berry glazed, plain glazed, and maple glazed with bacon bits. I opted for the maple glazed with bacon bits and was not disappointed. The sweetness of the maple glaze along with the saltiness of the bacon bits was the perfect combination. When I took my first bite, I was surprised to find that the consistency was more comparable to that of a croissant, but with the classic taste of a donut. It was a pleasant surprise and I will definitely be back to try all the other flavors.

The cronut really is what it claims to be: half donut, half croissant and delicious. It looks just like a donut but when you bite into it you can see the multiple, thin layers of dough inspired by the croissant. If you love donuts or croissants I guarantee you will like the combination of the two. So next time you are struggling to pick between a croissant or a donut for breakfast in the caf, do not stress, just get a cronut.

Concerns Over Flexi Plan May Lead to Changes in Bon Appétit

During this spring semester some students will face the reoccurring challenge of making sure their meal plans stay on budget, while others may have abundant funds left over on their flexi accounts.
Several questions may arise.

What happens to the funds forfeited at the end of the spring semester, and how much those funds are collected each year?

Why does everyone have the same flexi plan when students have different eating habits? Why are the prices on campus higher than other surrounding food establishments?

In September, Foghorn staff writer Sascha Rosemond reported on the combativeness of Bon Appétit General Manager Holly Winslow, and her efforts to develop sustainable initiatives while offering affordable food. That article addressed the complexity of the market’s cyclical patterns and its impact on the high costs of purchasing local farm foods.

But what about the non-organic products?

In an attempt to update students on matters pertaining to the cost of Bon Appétit foods, the Foghorn planned to do a price comparison between products sold by Bon Appétit and nearby grocery store Lucky.
The price comparison was not concluded however because findings showed there were price inconsistencies among particular items at Bon Appétit’s campus establishments.

For example a box of Frosted Flakes at Bon Appétit’s café Outtahere sells for $6.50, while the cafeteria located upstairs sells it for $7.00.

In an interview with General Manager Holly Winslow and Director of Operations Heather Ogg last semester, Winslow chose not to comment on the price difference. There were however responses to the price for flakes at Lucky, which was $4.49.

Ogg said, “Yes! Prices are really driven by the market…The cost of bringing in certain items is definitely going to be different to what a grocery store would be because of the volume they are selling the items for.”

She added, “Bon Appétit vendors send us a new price list each time we make an order. And we dictate our prices to what it costs us to purchase items.”

When asked who Bon Appétit’s vendors are, Ogg didn’t specify names.

With regards to updates Bon Appétit has made, Winslow said that since August Bon Appétit has started accepting cash again at 13 of the 14 registers in the cafeteria.

“Cash is the new black, and I’ve brought cash back,” Winslow said.

Winslow added she has also taken steps to help students budget their flexi accounts.

When asked about the ways flexi resembles the use of debit cards or “plastic money,” Winslow said she thinks the current meal plan is “simple” and “streamlined.”

“Here’s pretty much a debit card, and we are asking students to learn how to manage their money,” Winslow said.

Yet not all students eat as much or as little as their Flexi plan allows.

“The conversations are certainly happening with parents and students. My daughter doesn’t eat like an athlete; yet their meal plans are the same. I would be lying if I said these conversations were not happening, they certainly are,” Winslow said.

Ogg added, “Although these conversations are happening, they are not at the level to where we need to make changes to the program.”

Yet Winslow said, “The continual look at meal plans has been evolving since I’ve been at USF for the past five years, and the possibility of it evolving again is something that could definitely happen again.”
When asked if any student complaints have been brought to Winslow’s attention, she said only comments regarding hours of operation and cleanliness have been reported.

In regards of outlets for students to address their concerns Winslow said, “There are tell the chief comment cards, but they’re not out right now.” She didn’t mention when comment cards will be out for students.
Ogg said she feels dining services are quick to respond to any concerns that arise. She added that Bon Appétit has an open door policy. Student comments are always welcome.

According to Winslow, the current meal plan would be asessed this semester.
Bon Appétit presents a business progress report to the Board of Trustees every year. During this time Bon Appétit also proposes new initiatives to the Vice President for the Division of Business & Finance, Charles E. Cross.

Cross oversees Bon Appétit’s operations.
When asked regarding how much money is forfeited when students don’t use all of their meal plan money at the end of the spring semester, Winslow said, “It changes every year, and when students read the word forfeited, Bon Appétit doesn’t get to keep the money. The only money we get is when students purchase at the register.”

She added, “When there is money left over the university keeps the remaining, which is not very much, and the university typically uses the money for construction or food services.”

During a phone interview with Charles E. Cross last semester, he said the estimated amount collected from students that forfeit their meal plans each year is $80,000. Cross said funds are used to improve dining services, such as ovens, refrigerators, and other needed structural improvements.

When asked regarding student’s limitations in choosing the amount of their flexi accounts Cross said, “When we had multiple types of meal plans we had them changed because students were getting penalized too often, so we decided to find a low base rate and use a streamline meal plan.”

When asked what concerns he has heard the most, he said most comments are about Bon Appétit’s high prices and short hours of operation. Cross said he was also open to student proposals, but he suggested students remember Bon Appétit is a business that seeks to make a profit on the services they provide.
Toward the end of last semester, Bon Appétit’s Holly Winslow, Executive Chef, Jon Hall, and Cafe Manager, Blanca Garcia reported to ASUSF Senate on several student concerns, among them operation hours.
Making Outtahere open 24 hours, a promise made two years ago, was one of the inquiries addressed.
Winslow and Garcia both responded it being a liability issue due to safety concerns of student’s late night behavior.

Such behavior included students throwing up when seeking food late at night. Other concerns included hiring employees that would work night shifts and having sufficient late night customers.
When asked how campus security has been helping, Winslow said, “Our public safety has been amazing. A couple things they have implemented. So we have been collaborating by getting panic buttons and the automatic lock doors have really helped too, and another is they have been frequently checking in with us every hour.”

Winslow added that the enhanced security could help with the future development of having a 24 hour food service.

Winslow also asked senators to brainstorm a business approach that would explore whether it is cost effective to have more night hours.

During the interview with Winslow and Ogg last semester, both pointed out the inconsistency of the cafeteria’s operation during each semester, and mentioned the challenges of operating roughly 20 weeks this semester. Bon Appétit was closed Thanksgiving Day and they were closed for six weeks during winter break.Shortage in hours is a concern for many students and some are looking for ways to use their flexi off campus.

Freshman Christina Nguyen, a student sitting in the Senate meeting’s audience, suggested the possibility of using flexi at local businesses.

“The possibility might be favorable for businesses considering they will get more business… we don’t always have to eat at the cafeteria but we will always have that option,” Nguyen said.

Ideas of forming a student food committee that can sit down with Bon Appétit and the University to discuss student’s concerns was also proposed during the end of fall semester senate meeting.
ASUSF President, Lexington Wochner said in a private interview, “I think ultimately what needs to happen is we need to have clearer channels of communication. I think the food committee is a good starting point, so students can get the information they need to make responsible decisions for themselves.”

He added, “ I think students need to know they can advocate for their meal plans, but ultimately what needs to happen is students need to be empowered to help make responsible choices… once information is out there it is on the responsibility of the student to take the information and make conscious decisions.”

Bon Appétit Concerns Suggest Improvements are Needed

Caff by Emily Bogden

As the fall semester comes to an end, some students will face the reoccurring challenge of making sure their meal plans stay on budget, while others may have abundant funds roll onto their flexi account next semester.

Yet, students may have had other concerns regarding campus dining that may also extend to the spring.

Some questions may include what happens to the funds forfeited at the end of the spring semester and how much funds are collected each year? Why does everyone have the same flexi plan when students have different eating habits? Why are the prices on campus higher than other surrounding food establishments?

In September, Foghorn staff writer Sascha Rosemond reported on the combativeness of Bon Appétit General Manager, Holly Winslow and her efforts to develop sustainable initiatives while offering affordable food. That article addressed the complexity of the market’s cyclical patterns and its impact on the high costs of purchasing local farm foods.

But what about the non-organic products?
In an attempt to update students on matters pertaining to the cost of Bon Appétit foods, the Foghorn did a price comparison between products sold by Bon Appétit and nearby grocery store Lucky. The price comparison was not conclusive because findings showed there were price inconsistencies among particular items at Bon Appétit’s campus establishments.

One item for example was a box of Frosted Flakes. Bon Appétit café, Outtahere, sells it for $6.50 while the cafeteria located upstairs sells it for $7.00.

In an interview with General Manager Holly Winslow and Director of Operations Heather Ogg, Winslow chose not to comment on the price difference. However, there was a response for Lucky’s price, which was $4.49.

Ogg said, “Yes! Prices are really driven by the market…The cost of bringing in certain items is definitely going to be different to what a grocery store would be because of the volume they are selling the items for.”

She added, “Bon Appétit vendors send us a new price list each time we make an order. And we dictate our prices by what it costs us to purchase items.”
When asked who Bon Appétit’s vendors are, Ogg didn’t specify names.
With regards to updates Bon Appétit has made, Winslow said Bon Appétit has started accepting cash again at 13 of the 14 registers in the cafeteria since August.

“Cash is the new black, and I’ve brought cash back,” Winslow said.
Winslow added she has also taken steps to help students budget their flexi accounts.

Recognizing that Dons dollars and flexi can cause students to lose track of how much money they actually spend, Winslow has created 8×11 inch budget posters and displayed them around the cafeteria. The posters outline how much flexi students should have during their final weeks of the semester.

When asked about the ways flexi resembles the use of debit cards in our plastic money culture, Winslow said she thinks the current meal plan is “simple” and “streamlined” since in her opinion the plan is easy to understand.
“Here’s pretty much a debit card, and we are asking students to learn how to manage their money,” Winslow said.

Yet not all students eat as much or as little as their Flexi plan allows.

“The conversations are certainly happening with parents and students, such as my daughter doesn’t eat like an athlete yet their meal plans are the same. I would be lying if I said these conversations were not happening, they certainly are,” Winslow said.

Ogg added, “Although these conversations are happening they are not at the level to where we need to make changes to the program.”

Yet Winslow said, “The continual look at meal plans has been evolving since I’ve been at USF for the past five years, and the possibility of it evolving again is something that could definitely happen again.”

When asked if any student complaints have been brought to Winslow’s attention, she said only comments regarding hours of operation and cleanness have been reported.

In regards of there being outlets for students to address their concerns, Winslow said, “There are ‘Tell the Chief’ comment cards, but they’re not out right now.” She didn’t mention when comment cards will be out again for students.

Ogg however, said she feels dining services is quick to respond to any concerns that come up. She added Bon Appétit has an open door policy. Student comments are always welcome.

According to Winslow, the current meal plan will be assessed in January.
Bon Appétit, however, presents a business progress report to the Board of Trustees every year. It is during this time that Bon Appétit also proposes new initiatives to the Vice President for the Division of Business & Finance, Charles E. Cross.
Cross oversees Bon Appétit’s operations.

When asked how much money is forfeited when students don’t use all of their meal plan money at the end of the spring semester, Winslow said, “It changes every year, and when students read the word forfeited, Bon Appétit doesn’t get to keep the money. The only money we get is when students purchase at the register.”
She added, “When there is money left over the university keeps the remaining, which is not very much, and the university typically uses the money for construction or food services.”

During a phone interview with Charles E. Cross he said the estimated amount collected from students that forfeit their meal plans each year is $80,000. Cross said funds are used to improve dining services, such as ovens, refrigerators, and other needed structural improvements.

When asked about student’s limitations in choosing the amount of their flexi accounts Cross said, “When we had multiple types of meal plans we had them changed because students were getting penalized too often, so we decided to find a low base rate and use a streamline meal plan.”

When asked what concerns Cross had heard the most, he said most comments are about Bon Appétit’s high prices and short hours of operation. Cross said he was also open to student proposals, but he suggested students remember Bon Appétit is a business that seeks to make a profit on the services they provide.

Last week, Bon Appétit’s Holly Winslow, Executive Chef, Jon Hall, and Café Manager, Blanca Garcia reported to ASUSF Senate on several student concerns, among them operation hours.

For example, reasons for not making Outtahere open 24 hours, a promise made two years ago was one of the inquiries addressed.

Winslow and Garcia both responded, explaining that it is a liability issue due to safety concerns of student’s late night behavior. Such behavior included students throwing up when seeking food late at night. Other concerns included hiring employees that would work night shifts and having sufficient late night customers.

When asked how campus security has been helping, Winslow said, “Our public safety has been amazing. A couple things they have implemented, so we have been collaborating by getting panic buttons and the automatic lock doors have really helped too, and another is they have been frequently checking in with us every hour.”

Winslow added that the enhanced security could help with the future development of having a 24 hour food service.

Winslow also asked senators to brainstorm a business approach that would explore whether it is cost effective to have more night hours.

During the interview with Winslow and Ogg both pointed out the inconsistency of the cafeteria’s operation during each semester, and mentioned the challenges of operating roughly 20 weeks this semester. Bon Appétit was closed Thanksgiving Day and they will be closed for six weeks during winter break.

Shortage in hours is a concern for many students and some are looking for ways to use their flexi off campus.

Freshman Christina Nguyen, a student sitting in the audience, suggested the possibility of using flexi at local businesses. “This possibility might be favorable for businesses considering they will get more business, and this might make the cafeteria more appetizing because we don’t always have to eat at the cafeteria but we will always have that option,” Nguyen said.

Ideas of forming a student food committee that can sit down with Bon Appétit and the University to discuss student’s concerns was also proposed during the senate meeting.

ASUSF President, Lexington Wochner said in a private interview, “I think ultimately what needs to happen is we need to have clearer channels of communication. I think the food committee is a good starting point, so students can get the information they need to make responsible decisions for themselves.” He added, “ I think students need to know they can advocate for their meal plans, but ultimately what needs to happen is students need to be empowered to help make responsible choices… once information is out there it is on the responsibility of the student to take the information and make conscious decisions.”

The USF Cafeteria’s Musical Melting Pot

Ranging from current pop songs to classic oldies and even Broadway favorites, the cafeteria serves up a jambalaya of music from opening until closing. You’ll rarely catch anything but low-key acoustic or outdated 90’s band songs playing in the morning, almost as if they want to calm students down from the “I have a half hour to study” frenzy that follows a night of anything-but-studying. The same goes for after 7:30 p.m., although the soft sounds act more as a congratulatory relaxing mechanism for making it through the day without imploding. The time in between, however, depends on who exactly acts as the “great music hand” for the day, which means that on any given day, caf-goers can experience any number of musical genres.

Wednesday’s playlist mixed up many genres, playing everyone from Mary J. Blige to Toni Basil, but consisted mainly of recognizable yet unnameable 90’s songs sung by confused guys with guitars. The AM songs cast a more laid-back attitude across the almost empty caf, but as more starving students filed into the building searching for anything and everything to eat, the music tempo increased while the singers grew slightly less angsty. The Shins-meet-Beach Boys bands, singing songs about every brand of regret died out in favor of annoyingly happy yet irrevocably catchy tunes such as “Ruby Tuesday” and “Be My Woman.” To my somewhat subdued content, John Lennon made a few appearances, as did Sir Elton John, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. However, it was good ol’ Rod Stewart’s live version of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” that spread the head-bobbing and foot-tapping around the caf, which not only calls into question the musical tastes of every single USF student but also why Stewart thinks that performing that song live could be permissible under any circumstance.

Thursday broke all preconceived notions, not only about the caf music but music playlists in general. Gone was the mix of indie/rock, R&B/soul and pop that colored yesterday, and what took its place constituted a single genre that some young adults agree should have been left in the decade that it originated in. Michael Jackson – legend. U2 – legends who managed to still be alive. Prince – crazy vocals, despite negative points for being not-Michael Jackson. Aerosmith – more known for Steven Tyler than actual music, but still enjoyable. Bon Jovi – quotable and thus still relevant. Journey – producers of the catchiest price of music to ever hit airwaves. Bangles – emotional girls who can still throw a punch. RUN DMC, Duran Duran, George Michael – all exceptional musicians that ruled the 80’s with fire in their veins and some with mullets on their heads. Spend enough time in the caf on Thursdays and you might just grow one yourself. No offense to any 80’s lovers, but a full day of nonstop tribute can really wear on the ears of an individual not accustomed to the forty thousand beats per song.

Despite any good intentions by the caf employees to enhance the dining experience, the entire existence of a soundtrack to breakfast, lunch and dinner is undermined by the fact that one needs to be at the grill or burrito station to even hear the musical selections. Suggestion: hook up the speakers throughout the caf so that all students can partake in the wonder that is twelve straight hours of 80’s tunes. After all, a student body that endures musical malpractice together stays together – and might even come to appreciate the unique samples that the USF cafeteria serves up.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian

Chef Tito Piansay Serves Up Crepes and Personality in USF Caf

Many USF students love the crepes served in the cafeteria. They are willing to endure long lines and spend valuable lunch time waiting for their chance to order a crepe and chat with Tito Piansay, the crepe station chef.  He engages his customers and has a reputation not only for his phenomenal crepes, but for his personable customer service. Although crepes are the initial draw for most students, it is Tito’s company, as students often call him, that keeps customers coming back.

For Piansay, being a chef at USF just “fell into his lap.” He earned a BA from La Salle University in the Philippines, not for culinary arts but for Psychology. He never used his degree though and instead turned to cooking. Piansay moved to San Francisco 30 years ago and has been working for Bon Appétit at USF for about ten years. Luckily for us, he still loves coming to work everyday. “I like the energy,” he said. “The students are always waiting for me. I kind of like that.”

Although Piansay loves making food, being a chef means more to him than creating crepes behind a counter. “I love my people, my regulars,” he said. “We have a little interaction every time someone wants me to make a crepe for him or her. I’m serving food, something that goes into your mouth. It’s not like selling a car.”

The dining culture and social aspects of cooking and eating meals together are often lost in the cafeteria flurry, but Piansay makes sure to serve it up with his crepes. So when you come up to buy a crepe for breakfast or lunch, expect attention.

As for his favorite crepe, he says, “Tomato, pesto and spinach. But the majority of students love chicken with Brie and some other ingredients. Some students love ten different things mixed in there.”

Crepes are being made even more this year than in the past due to their rising popularity. They are now available Monday through Friday at breakfast and lunch. Piansay really likes the dessert crepes, but they have yet to be on the menu this year.

The crepe station sits in the front now and offers a wide variety of ingredients. You can choose between chicken, sun dried tomatoes, Brie cheese, pesto, portobello mushrooms and so much more. All of that is good, but the best part is Chef Tito Piansay smiling and standing behind the counter.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian

Budget Flexi, Drink From the Tap

Midterms are coming to an end and half of the semester is complete. Students who live on campus and use Flexi should have about $900 left according to a week by week budget created by Jon Torres, senior cafe manager of Bon Appetit.  For the week beginning on October 27th, students should have $896.55 remaining. By purchasing meals for friends and making impulse buys, some students run through their Flexi points quickly. The meal plan for on-campus students is $1,905 each semester.  Torres and Holly Winslow, manager of Bon Appetit, have worked to create bail out specials, which feature a daily $1 special food item, such as pizza and soup.

To budget Flexi, Winslow suggested decreasing impulse purchases and also limiting the consumption of boutique bottled water, like Dasani and Evian. She said that the tap water available in the cafeteria is from Hetch Hetchy, a water reservoir near Yosemite National Park, which is “pure and free.”  Winslow said, “I would much rather see students using their own (reusable) water bottles.” Purchasing bottled water “has a tendency to drive the check up,” she said.

USF students typically make about five trips through the cafeteria each day. Winslow said that these fly by trips and spontaneous buys can also eat away at Flexi points. She cautioned, “Be aware of how many times you are walking through.”

While the current meal plan does provide for three hot meals a day, replacing scrambled eggs and tater tots with a bagel could help students conserve Flexi.

Sophomores Morgan Harper and Jenae Lozada both have about $900 left. Harper isn’t concerned with running out of Flexi, she said, “ I can estimate it because I don’t eat here on the weekends.”  Lozada said, “I eat out too. I get sick of the cafeteria food.”  Sophomore Quin Herron has a $634 balance and is being a bit more careful about his spending than at the beginning of the semester. For those concerned about running out of Flexi points, Winslow said that last year she made her phone number available to students to discuss their low balances. She met with ten students, five of whom began working for Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit offers student workers Flexi and complimentary employee meals as additional benefits. Winslow said, “Before students revert to inappropriate behavior, (they should) come talk to Jon or myself. We will always help the students.”