First meal cooked out of the new DSU kitchen
The new kitchen at Dakota State University is officially broken in.
On March 3, the Sodexo staff cooked 260 meals out of the new facility for the Friday night Gala. The annual event is a fundraiser to benefit student scholarships.
Executive Chef Edgar Sepulveda and his staff prepared and cooked a variety of menu items in the newly completed kitchen -- poached pears, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, parmesan and herb baked salmon, and passion fruit tarts.
The new addition to the Trojan Center (TC) is the best and most updated kitchen he’s seen in his 17 years as a chef. “It’s beautiful.”
The square footage of the kitchen is only about 200 square feet larger than the former location, but is better connected than the old space, said Corey Braskamp, physical plant director. It’s the student serving area, called the servery, which sees the biggest gain in space, 750 sq. ft. larger.
Javier Lopez, food service manager, said they were willing to sacrifice some additional space in the kitchen for the larger serving area, to “accommodate the needs of the students.”
Sepulveda is happy with the atmosphere this sets. “We’re trying to break the school cafeteria ambience,” Chef said, “and make it more like a food court.”
There are several stations where students may choose a variety of foods, including a grill station, an American classics station, and a deli for freshly-made sandwiches. There will also be a brick-oven pizza and pasta station. “The salad bar will be twice the size of the old one,” Sepulveda added.
The new facility will not look like what students were used to in high school, nor will the food taste the same. “This will let them know that what they eat here is not what school food used to be.”
For example, a pulled pork sandwich will be the end result of a 17-18 hour process, he explained, with the meat cooking for 14 hours. This “is what Sodexo does,’ he added, “they bring quality to the table.”
The students’ first opportunity to sample meals from the new kitchen will be beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, as the students return from spring break. The community’s first chance to experience the new facility is also on Sunday, said Lopez.
The public is always welcome, he said, and “It’s the best deal in town,” with all you care to eat for one low price. They will not need a meal plan to eat, or the campus prepaid card program called Trojan Gold, as Sodexo food service accepts cash, credit cards, or checks, he added.
This kitchen addition on the north side of the TC allows the former kitchen area on the east to be converted to retail space for Einstein’s Bagels and the bookstore, giving those establishments more visibility, and easier access for the public, Braskamp added.
This project is part of an extensive expansion and renovation of the student union. A new student lounge is being added on the southwest corner, and other parts of the building will be renovated and updated, including the eating area called The Marketplace. This space will be repainted and reconfigured with new tables and chairs over the summer, said Lopez. The entire renovation project is expected to be completed in time for the start of classes in August.
Some of the old kitchen’s equipment, which was outdated or would not work in the new facility, was sold through an online auction held Feb. 22 – March 1. About 50 items, including ovens, prep tables, coolers and freezers, a dish washing machine, serving tables, drink station, condiment station, and even a couple of kitchen sinks were sold by Girard Auction. The auction process was set up by the state of South Dakota, and brought in about $30,000, said Stacy Krusemark, vice president for business and administrative services. Once expenses such as advertising and auctioneer fees are deducted, the balance will be reinvested in the project, he added.
A ribbon-cutting for the new food service area will be held at a later date, Sepulveda said.
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