By Eryn Olson
Students indulged their appetites on California wraps, Spanish tapas, spring mix, gazpacho shooters and more last Thursday afternoon. Bon AppÃ©tit hosted the popular Mission Catering Showcase and Nobili Bakery Expo.
Staged outdoors on the Kenna Lawn and the Mission Bakery patio with balloons and colorful tablecloths, the special occasion attracted eager students and faculty.
Freshman Allegra Thomas, a student assistant in the catering office, passed out flyers, set up stations and oversaw the start of the event.
Thomas described the energy as a “nervous buzzing around the kitchen and office” as the staff prepared that week.
The tasting event featured samples from the newly-revised catering guide, which they had been working on for the past six months.
Cheryl Hartzheim, director of catering, said that the menu has “a whole new concept.” Its focus has shifted more towards Ã¡ la carte options instead of bundled packages, which better accommodate students’ needs and lower budgets.
As a freshman living on campus, Meaghan Walsh was eager to try the new assortment of foods. Walsh described it as “a good change of pace” from her typical eating routine at the Benson Memorial Center.
On the list of items to sample were pastries, homemade chips and dip, hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches and salads. Walsh praised the tasting stations, saying she could try “a little bit of everything” without needing to purchase an entire meal.
The Indian buffet, with its vegan and gluten-free options, was one of the day’s most popular stations. Sophomore Kristen Richardson’s favorite dish was the shrimp tostadas. Thomas said she has received feedback from students, who assured her that everything they tried was “delicious and plentiful.”
An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 people attended the event. Most of the food was gone within the first half-hour, leading some to regret that they did not get there sooner.
Thomas explained that unexpectedly “the student body dominated the event” because of its central location, time and social media marketing.
With a start time of 3:30 p.m., students just getting out of class swarmed to the lawn and patio to get their chance at the free food. Richardson heard about the event by word of mouth, which was another reason the event attendance was so high.
The showcase promoted the Mission Catering food services to students. Hartzheim explained that many students are “unaware that they can use their dining points for events” and revert to the Cellar Market to spend extra points.
According to Hartzheim, a simple pizza party with a group of friends is a great idea to use up points before the quarter’s end. An added benefit is that events can be booked for the next quarter, so students with too many points this spring quarter can plan a catered event for when they return in the fall.
Last Thursday’s event exhibited many of Nobili Bakery’s freshly-made treats. Nobili Bakery is still new to campus, having opened up its doors and ovens just this year. Previously, desserts and pastries were brought to campus from outside sources. Now, such items are made daily on campus with local ingredients.
Hartzheim was glad to see a great turnout and her catering office has received plenty of positive feedback from students. She hopes to conduct an event like this again soon after the beginning of school next year, having separate events for students and faculty clients so that members of each group get a taste of what is to come.
Contact Eryn Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.