Bon Appétit Brings a Fresh Approach to APU Dining

by Nathan Foster

Choosing what to eat can often seem like an uphill battle full of compromises between what tastes good, what’s good for your body, and what’s good for your wallet. Beginning this fall, the Azusa Pacific University community will enjoy a fresh approach to dining on campus, featuring locally sourced, healthy, and delicious food at an exceptional value, crafted by new dining services partner Bon Appétit.

“It’s really simple. We use the best ingredients to create a local and seasonal artisanal style cuisine,” said executive chef Anastacio Rodriguez. “We cook from scratch. We’ll get large primal cuts of meat and break them down by hand. We don’t use processed vegetables, or any bases or mixes. We make our own stocks. When students taste our food, they’re going to want to eat here.”

On August 8, Bon Appétit hosted an open house for APU faculty and staff to sample a variety of dishes from the catering menu. One of the most popular offerings of the afternoon was a refreshing sesame bok choy salad with sweet napa cabbage, carrots, red peppers, edamame, crunchy wontons and a sesame-soy vinaigrette.Other popular dishes of the day included grilled lemon rosemary chicken, parmesan roasted cauliflower that makes you actually want to eat cauliflower, and a quinoa wild rice pilaf that tasted good enough to seem bad for you, even though it’s packed with nutrients. Attendees also munched on an array of colorful and crisp vegetable crudites with two types of house made hummus and ranch dips. Then guests made their way to the dessert table to indulge in a platter of french pastries including chocolate-raspberry tarts, opera tarts, chocolate ganache, and white-chocolate lemon mousse.

Bon Appétit champions a sustainable focus for food service, produced through practices that respect farmers, workers, and animals; nourish the community; and replenish shared natural resources for future generations. “Bon Appétit purchases from local farmers,” Rodriguez said. “At APU, we’ll be using Mariposa Ranch for our beef, Mary’s Free Range Chicken, Bread Artisan for most of our breads, and VR Green Farms for a lot of the produce.”

That attention to quality and detail extends to the Bon Appétit chefs who complete extensive training on not only culinary techniques but also on food allergies, a topic of increasing significance on college campuses. “We make sure our teams are well trained and knowledgeable about special diets and food allergens. They are all FARE certified. It’s always an awareness point within our kitchens so people understand how they’re preparing food, how to reduce and prevent cross contact in the kitchen,” said Terri Brownlee, Bon Appétit’s director of nutrition and wellness. “In addition, we use descriptive menuing to make sure students know exactly what goes into each dish.”

Recognizing the growing number of students with allergies, the university provides an on-campus dietician to tailor a plan specific to each individual. “We encourage students to utilize their dietician not only for problem solving, but also as a resource of information,” Brownlee said.

Bon Appétit promises to enhance the dining experience at APU while maintaining existing pricing. According to Sam Samaan, executive director of University Services, dining plans and items at dining venues will not increase in cost this year. Samman encourages students to choose a plan that best fits their needs. “It’s all about convenience. You don’t have to worry about the time it takes to cook or shop,” Samaan said. “Instead, you can use that time to focus on your academic success.”

Check out the new on campus dining options at APU.

Nathan is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. He is a double major in journalism and public relations.