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Dining Services offers healthy options and international cuisines for the new school year

With three new restaurants on campus this fall and several new additions to existing menus, Dining Services is moving forward with a focus on health and wellness, and is expanding the range of dietary options at Carnegie Mellon University.

In an interview with The Tartan, Mandi Semple, Director of Marketing for Student Affairs, highlighted the goals that have driven these new dining choices. “Healthy options and international cuisine are the main themes for Dining Services as we go into this new year,” said Semple.

One of the new options is Nourish, Carnegie Mellon’s first allergen-friendly kitchen, which offers meals prepared without gluten, wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and most tree nuts (except coconut).

“It’s been a goal of our program to open such a kitchen for a few years now, after collaborating with students, faculty, and staff who have a need for allergen-friendly cuisine,” said Pascal Petter, Director of Dining Services. “We hope that this facility satisfies that need around campus.”

Menu items from Nourish can be customized and ordered for pick-up through GET, the university’s online and mobile food ordering service. Pre-packaged items from Nourish are also available at grab-and-go locations throughout campus, such as Entropy+ and Maggie Murph Café.

In Resnik House, another new dining choice available is Garden Bistro, Carnegie Mellon’s first 100 percent plant-forward vegan menu. “A community that has been very vocal with me has been our plant-based eaters. We wanted to create locations that really cater to those students and community members,” said Jessica Tones, Dining Services’ Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Educator, and Marketing Coordinator.

Garden Bistro’s menu includes sandwiches and build-your-own sauté bowls, with many different choices of vegetables and beans, plant-based proteins, and meat alternatives to create a personalized bowl.

Other health-based changes on various existing menus include new smoothies and breakfast bowls at Carnegie Mellon Café, which are made from several “superfoods” such as chia seeds, quinoa, dates, and kale. Also new this fall are superfood bowls at Evgefstos, which can be customized at lunch.

Carnegie Mellon has an extremely diverse and international community, which has motivated Dining Services to implement a wider variety of cuisines in campus dining. Some returning students may have noticed that Tartan Express has been revamped with a completely new menu. As a result of a Request for Proposal (RFP) process on campus, Dining Services has switched the concept of the popular food truck parked outside the Cohon University Center. It now serves Roti Wraps, a fast, fresh, and flavorful twist on Indian food.

Although the items from last year’s Tartan Express menu can be purchased at iNoodle in Newell-Simon Hall, a new, ramen-only restaurant is now open in the Cohon Center Marketplace: Ramen Bowl. The menu includes tofu, chicken, and pork noodle soups, and allows students to create their own ramen with toppings like scallions, bok choy, and house-made kimchi.

The Pomegranate at Tartan’s Pavilion in Resnik House is now certified Orthodox Kosher, supervised by the Vaad of Pittsburgh. To achieve this, Dining Services partnered with the Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University and the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh. This expansion of kosher options has been in the works for the last few years, and Dining Services is excited that the project has come to fruition this semester.

The many new restaurants and menu revisions follow the strategic plan set by Carnegie Mellon for a campus-wide focus on holistic health and wellness. Petter believes that by developing traditional dining spaces that are interactive, social, and healthy, Dining Services is doing its part for promoting a better environment and community.

In addition to these changes, Dining Services is also continuing Andy Eats, which was launched last year. Andy Eats consists of campus dining events and awards, which are held throughout the year. This year’s first competition will be held during the Taste of the Tartans event, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, where students, faculty, and staff are welcome to sample food from dining vendors and vote on their favorites.

Dining Services has plans in the coming years to continue the expansion of healthy and diverse dining options. “I hope that our community continues to share with us what other dining options they want to see and how we can continue to improve,” said Tones. “We know we still have lots of work to do, however we are focused on making our program best-in-class.”

For more information about Dining Services, visit http://www.cmu.edu/dining.