Opinions Differ on School Lunches

What’s for lunch? It’s a simple question, but at Pace, there isn’t a simple answer. “There is a lot of variety offered at Pace,” said sophomore Kenny Selmon, and it is true. Pace’s catering service, Sage, offers students and teachers a multitude of food options. There are the hot lunches, panini makers, a soup and salad bar, and even the occasional special offerings, where students can try foods like latkes, bruscetta, and even shrimp alfredo pasta. Food Service Director Katarzyna Garmilla explained, “I want students to know our variety. Choice is a priority for us.” The lunches are on a three month rotation, which Kat (as she prefers to be called) said “helps with production and budget management.” The budget per student is extremely tight, but Kat said that she isn’t at liberty to disclose the exact figure. Yet even with a tight budget, the catering service provides a vast array of options.

Sage’s main priority in construction of the menu is balance. Kat plans the menus herself, then gets them approved by the company after having them double checked by certified dietitians from her home office. So the school lunch is varied and balanced, but is it satisfying? Many students complain that the hot lunches are not. “I don’t really like the hot bar. I never get any food from there,” said sophomore Sydney Benator. “I rely on the panini maker for my main meal,” agreed freshman Cami Greatrex. Mr. Day added, “Hot lunch was amazing a couple of years ago. I’ll admit the quality has gone down a bit since then, but the lunch is still phenomenal.”

Many argue that while school lunch is not the best food ever, it is still pretty delicious. Kat commented, “It is really hard with our budget to please approximately 1300 people every day. We know that there will always be people disappointed.” If students don’t like the lunch, they always have the option to buy pizza or chicken fingers from the snack bar. The fact that no one brings their own lunch stands to prove that most students are happy enough with the food Sage provides.

When asked about school lunch, students had more recommendations than complaints. These included having more cold lunches, getting bigger soup bowls, and adding a PB&J station to the lineup. Junior Joey Capelouto suggested more “healthy lunches that still remain tasty.” Senior Hannah Hoff asked “that we don’t have pizza, bread sticks, and pasta all on the same day.” She added, “I wish they would spread out the carbs more.” Sage does incorporate student and faculty suggestions, although there are some restrictions. Kat said, “We are sometimes limited because of allergies and religious practices, but we try and serve what students want every once in a while on the center tables with specialty food.”

Despite differing opinions, everyone agrees the lunch staff is awesome. “They do a good job with what they are given,” said Sydney. Mr. Day agreed, “The lunch ladies do an amazing job providing lunch, especially with their tight budget.”

By Taylor Esler, Managing Editor ’12

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