Stop complaining about the food, Yalies. At least that’s what The Wall Street Journal says.
In a Wall Street Journal ranking published Nov. 8, Yale’s Berkeley College dining hall received a four-star review, outscoring the 19 other dining halls surveyed nationwide.
The article praised Berkeley’s furniture and food variety, and noted the college’s plans to convert to an organic menu next year.
“[Yale is] the winner with wide leather chairs, custom china and big soup spoons,” The Wall Street Journal article said.
The Berkeley administrative and dining hall staffs, as well as students, said they are fully aware of their college’s recent recognition.
“Everyone was notified when the article hit the newsstands,” Berkeley College Master John Rogers said. “The college is justly proud.”
Students received the news in an e-mail. There is currently a copy of the article at the entrance to the hall.
“The general atmosphere around here is one of disbelief,” Elana Bensoul ’05 said. “The food here is good, but I didn’t think it was the best in the country. This doesn’t bode well for college food around the nation.”
For its survey, The Wall Street Journal randomly chose 20 universities. With a chef in tow, reporter Pooja Bhatia visited one dining hall at each institution earlier this fall to sample the food and spoke with students to get their impressions on the food quality and atmosphere. The informality of the process caused some people at Berkeley to question the validity of the overall rating system.
“It’s hard to say how objective [Bhatia] was,” said Mike Schoen, the first cook in the Berkeley dining hall. “She came here and started taking notes. [Berkeley dining hall manager] Mike Stringer actually approached her and started asking her questions.”
Stringer could not be reached for comment.
The Wall Street Journal gave Harvard’s Annenberg Hall two and a half stars, noting that 16 Cantabs were hospitalized last year with gastroenteritis. Harvard maintained the cases were not related to the dining hall food.
Columbia’s John Jay cafeteria, which according to The Wall Street Journal smelled like dishwater, received just two stars.
Berkeley was renovated four years ago, and some of the more massive changes involved the dining and cooking areas.
Berkeley Dean George Levesque, who was a residential fellow in the college before the renovations, said the changes improved the dining hall.
“Not only did the new physical layout greatly improve traffic flow, but also the new kitchen gave the cooks more flexibility with food preparation,” Levesque said.
Bensoul, who has dined at various universities, said that the food at Yale is noticeably not as bland.
“It’s definitely better quality,” she said. “It doesn’t taste mass-produced.”
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