• Campus Food

Campus Food Quality at Cornell University


It might be sad, but it’s true: a majority of college dining programs we investigate aren’t well received by students. What’s to blame then? It ranges from a lack of fresh ingredients to poor customer service and everything in between. Consider that the average college meal plan costs between $7 and $11 per meal translating to thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Hard working students simply deserve more, because balanced meals with proper nutrition are essential to scholarly success. Plus, you want to feel as though you got your money’s worth once the student loan payments start rolling in. That’s why we were so pleased to see the near unanimous praise for the culinary services offered by Cornell University, a member of the Ivy League that hosts approximately 14,000 undergraduates on its grounds in Ithaca, New York. In fact, the prestigious Princeton Review consistently ranks Cornell as one of the Top 10 schools in the country for on campus food impressive! Read on to discover more about Cornell’s delicious dishes, top-tier talent and sustainability efforts.

Not long ago, we told you all about some of the best professors at Cornell. It turns out that they’re just as concerned with hiring award-winning chefs. The school’s official website says that all chefs have been classically trained, with six non-executive chefs being graduates of the revered Culinary Institute of America. While we’re riding the wave of facts, also keep in mind that upwards of 215 dining staff members are certified as Professional Food Handlers. These facts alone tell us that Cornell takes the dining experience very seriously.

We rarely find schools that source talented chefs to lead their kitchen, and this is partly why the food quality suffers. Students say that there’s an eclectic mix of food to be enjoyed, and that the atmosphere in general is lively and social. It’s even said that those living off-campus still venture to the dining halls out of personal preference. That’s just unheard of in our line of work.

Going away to college definitely puts a greater emphasis on how time is spent. We’ve even outlined five things to do at Cornell insert hyperlink so your calendar is never blank. The pursuit of spending time and resources is just as important to Cornell’s culinary team (their running tally of awards for it doesn’t lie). Over the years, they’ve increased the amount of locally and regionally grown food to 22%. Pre and post-consumer composting is in place, and recyclable packaging isn’t even a question. Like other eco-conscious schools, Cornell has gone to a tray-free dining system to reduce food waste and electricity while conserving water. Students are often seen carrying stainless steel water bottles to contribute to the cause. Leave it to the Ivy League pupils of Cornell to pave the way for a greener planet.

The one drawback of Cornell’s culinary plan is its cost, though students admit that it’s worth every penny. It opens the doors to a world of staple foods, ethnic cuisine, gourmet vegan or vegetarian options, locally sourced ingredients and coffee, certified kosher items plus facilities that you actually want to go to. With so much food to be had, putting on the infamous Freshmen 15 might seem like a worry. Cornell has five yes, five fitness centers located around campus with classes like yoga, barre, t’ai chi and more revolving throughout the day. If the college of your dreams is one that’s obsessed with high quality food, leading a healthy lifestyle and doing so in a way that benefits the environment, then Cornell University is the place for you.

Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 e-commerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.

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