The Advocate

Data dictates food options

An unwanted ingredient was found in a student’s March 26 lunch.

Alex Harris

An unwanted ingredient was found in a student’s March 26 lunch.

Matt Churella, News Editor

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Sodexo General Manager Kevin Dicey said he cannot please everybody with meal choices, but he tries his best to do so.

Dicey said he could pull 50 students and ask them which food they prefer to have served in the cafeteria.

He said athletes would want lean protein and meats, while Greek students might want to eat buffalo chicken pizza.

Dicey said Sodexo employees collect data of which foods students eat through several ways, some of which include analyzing production sheets and noticing what gets thrown out.

“We have a comment card box, but no one uses it,” he said.

Dicey said he tries to serve Sodexo’s top 10 entrees at least once every two weeks.

“I don’t want it to be that every Tuesday is pierogi night,” he said.

However, Dicey also said that there is no ranking of which foods are the top 10.

He said some of the most eaten foods include General Tso’s chicken, chicken nuggets and tacos.

Other foods that are often put out for students to eat are chop suey, chicken alfredo and the Zoey bowl—a bowl filled with mashed potatoes, chicken and corn, named after Pitt-Johnstown student Zoey Gailey.

Dicey said Gailey approached him and had asked that Sodexo serve the option, which was inspired from a Kentucky Fried Chicken meal.

“I know what I like,” Gailey said.

Dicey said he knows most students say they want good food, but that when he asks them what classifies as good food, they usually have no clear answer.

Freshman Dane Difiore said he would like to see Sodexo serve more steaks and fewer pork chops.

“Especially when they put some sort of flavoring on it. It’s (difficult) to eat here if you’re trying to be healthy,” Difiore said.

Freshman Hugh Collins said he agrees that steak should be served more often.

“I like a nice, medium-rare steak,” Collins said.

Collins also said he thinks Sodexo’s General Tso’s chicken tastes good, but he said their chicken alfredo is sometimes served too cold.

Senior Grady Zagorac said he doesn’t like Sodexo’s burgers, chop suey or the Zoey bowl.

“Everything else is pretty good, though,” Zagorac said.

Dicey said he has an inside joke to describe what students would eat.

“If you fry it, and you put hot sauce on it, they’ll eat it,” Dicey said.

But sophomore Alex Harris tweeted March 26 a photo of an unwanted ingredient in her Sodexo food.

“Huge (shout out) to @sodexoUSA for the high-quality food service!! I love eating worms for lunch,” her tweet reads.

Harris said she took her plate up to show a manager what she had found in her food.

“He apologized and took my plate (from) me.

“I was told Sodexo would be notified and nothing more,” Harris said.

She said she had not been given anything for the incident.

“There was no compensation or money returned, just a mere apology,” she said.

Harris said she has eaten in the cafeteria since then, but that she avoids the salad bar, which she said was once her go-to option.

“I’m pretty picky about what I eat now.

“I did not like Sodexo to begin with, so the incident was the nail in the coffin for me,” Harris said.

Dicey said it was a prepackaged product that Sodexo bought from their distributor.

“We do check the salad before it is put out, but, due to human error, this was missed, and we’re truly sorry,” Dicey replied.

But Harris said she feels something should have been done about it.

“I understand that mistakes happen, and human error is always involved in food industries.

“However, I feel that it is very unfortunate that no one has reached out to me to try and correct their mistake,” Harris said.

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Data dictates food options