At the beginning of this fall semester, Trinity University Dining Services served up two major changes to the campus food scene. A new restaurant concept, Revolve, has opened for business in the Coates University Commons, and new executive chef Brent Gorman has taken over in Mabee Dining Hall.
Revolve operates on a schedule of four rotating guest restaurants, including Which Wich, Papouliâ€™s and Panda Express, with opportunities for new vendors as the program continues. Each Monday through Thursday, a different establishment will provide additional options for students beside Freshii, Taco Taco and Einsteinâ€™s Bagels.
â€œRevolve is a fun way for us to add variety, lots of variety, without getting stuck in the single restaurant format. There are so many great styles and flavors of food that should be tried, and Revolve will help us provide those new concepts and keep things fresh for Trinity,â€ said Charles Robles, manager of Trinity dining services.
Trinity students are excited for the increased variety outside of Mabee Dining Hall.
â€œItâ€™s pretty useful; it adds options. Itâ€™s a lot more well-known, national restaurants, so itâ€™s kind of a comfort food, especially for people that are out of state,â€ said Caitlyn Turner, sophomore.
In addition to new hot food choices, The Commons and Skyline now sell Blue Sky sodas, as opposed to Coca Cola products. Blue Sky is a more natural choice for soda because it uses cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.
â€œThe change to Blue Sky was to offer something fun and exciting and responsibly made,â€ Robles said. â€œAs far as Blue Sky in Mabee, weâ€™ll look into it, but we want to be careful not to lose its uniqueness by over-providing the product line. We are very special in the fact that we are currently one of a handful of places that offer Blue Sky in San Antonio.â€
Although Panda Express may not be the healthiest addition to campus dining options, Brent Gorman, new executive chef, ensures healthier options in Mabee. Gorman plans to make the dining hall a destination for well-rounded meals made with quality ingredients.
Gorman joins the Trinity dining team as an award-winning Aramark veteran, coming to Trinity from the University of Houston after the latter terminated its Aramark contract in the spring of 2017. Robles played a large role in the hiring of Gorman.
â€œHe has many great qualifications, like ProChef III Certification, and is a Certified Executive Chef, but the most amazing qualification is his drive to provide great food. During the summer the chef and the entire dining team made a commitment to produce amazing food experiences by sourcing local ingredients as much as possible, developing more scratch-recipe-style cooking and focusing on fresh and delicious meals,â€ Robles said.
Besides obvious aesthetic changes to Mabee including new bowls, shelves for fresh fruit and screens that display the dayâ€™s menu, students are already noticing Gormanâ€™s touch in the kitchen in the quality of their food.
â€œI think the soup is better. Last year, it felt like I was eating salt with a side of soup, but now itâ€™s soup with a side of salt,â€ Turner said.
Michael Beckley, new food service manager, is responsible for making sure that operations in Mabee run smoothly by ensuring food is prepared and on the line on time.
â€œThe major changes I see are higher quality equipment and overall better aesthetics. Also, fresher served foods and more choices for students,â€ Beckley said.
In addition, methods of serving food in the dining hall are being altered for a more efficient meal period.
â€œMaking sure food is cooked closer to serving time. Also, stronger enforcement of company rules to improve the performance of our front line workers,â€ Beckley said.
When asked what’s next for Trinity dining, Robles spoke of continued efforts towards health and sustainability.
â€œWe are going to keep focusing on our commitment to sustainability and we are hoping to see more farm-to-table type ingredients from out of our garden and from the SA Food Bank’s new garden,â€ Robles said.