Utah State University students will have three new options for meat-free on-the-go snacking next semester.
The new dishes will include a cold veggie bowl, fresh-cut fruit and instant cups of quinoa.
The veggie bowl will include fresh veggies that Aggies can enjoy eating while they are still cold. The fresh-cut fruit will take Aggie Eats current fruit cup to the next level by adding more diverse fruits, including melon balls. The instant cup of quinoa will be similar to a Cup of Noodles, but allow more Asian flavors and spices to take the spotlight in the dish.
The new items were created by Chef Donald Donaldson, who has been in the food industry for more than 30 years, as a way to meet students’ demand for modern food.
“We had a survey come back and tell us something along the lines of we don’t do a whole lot of modern stuff,” Donaldson said. “At first I thought that meant do more Pinterest recipes.”
Students also struggled to define what modern food is.
“Fast food is what I would say if I had to define it,” said Jackie Monson, an interior design student.
Asian studies freshman Shaughnesscy Able said she didn’t believe food could be defined by different time periods.
“For me, food is food,” she said.
Donaldson admitted he struggled at first to figure out what exactly students wanted. After observing how his own kids ate he decided to look into producing more vegetarian entrees.
“Both my kids are super picky eaters,” Donaldson said. “They basically are vegetarians with the exception of two or four pieces of bacon every Saturday morning.”
Donaldson began looking into vegetarian foods that were easy to make a lot of and would be unique enough to interest students.
“Every freshman crop has a different personality as to what they’ll try for eating,” Donaldson said. “This year hasn’t been too bad for the adventuresome.”
Alan Anderson, who oversees the menus for Dining Services, was not surprised by students’ feelings toward the old menus. Anderson felt the menus had become too out-of-date to compete with today’s food options.
“We feel like our menus sometimes get stagnant,” Anderson said.
Though Anderson is excited about the new entrees, he does not want any of his customers to be disillusioned about what Dining Services is and will continue providing students.
“I’m not going to say meat is bad or meat is good,” Anderson said. “I am going to say food is good and we’ll serve the highest quality.”
Donaldson plans to continue experimenting with his entrees and hopes to introduce students to even more exotic dishes in the future.
“My priority for introducing new items is the fall semester,” Donaldson said. “I’m already working on some new things for next fall.”