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Maple Hall's vegan meals attract national attention

Dining Services' Daniel Rowe, Wanda White and Anita Adefope.Ask any student. When he or she goes off to college, it’s tough to leave home cooking. 

So Dining Services revamped some menus and dining areas to offer a variety of options to address that culinary stress. Faculty and staff can enjoy the new meal options, too:

  • Maple Hall has a vegan menu, which attracted national media attention.
  • West Hall has Southern home-style comfort foods.
  • Bruce Hall, remodeled and opening in October, will have fresh pasta and pizza choices.
  • Avesta Restaurant in the University Union serves breakfast.
  • The Business Leadership Building has the Biz Café. 

The all-vegan concept has attracted news media attention from around the country.

Ken Botts, director of special projects for Dining Services, says that UNT began developing the all-vegan concept about a year ago to offer variety and healthy options. Botts said the menu makeover was based on feedback from students and aligns with university dining trends.

“Most schools only have one or two cafeterias, so it is difficult for them to dedicate an entire dining hall to one type of cuisine. We are fortunate to have five cafeterias on our campus - it made sense to diversify to offer more variety,” said Botts. “UNT has a diverse population with many different tastes and lifestyles, and we believe that this new dining option will remain attractive.”

The vegan menu offers nutritionally balanced meals of protein-rich beans, nuts and seeds. Nutritional yeast enriched with B-12 is used in the preparation of breads and baked goods.

“Vegan food sometimes gets a bad rap as being bland or dry, but our culinary team, led by Wanda White, culinary operations chef, has been developing and testing menu items for months and promises a flavorful menu,” said Botts. “Wanda is a classically trained pastry chef and has developed a number of vegan desserts and baked goods. These are dishes that everyone will enjoy.” Photo, from left, Daniel Rowe, Food Service manager, White, and Anita Adefope, Food Service manager.

West Hall has a reputation for home-style cooking, and the delightful lagniappes that Manager Joyce Nixon, fondly known as “Mama Joyce,” regularly provides. So the cafeteria went whole hog, as they say in the South, with a new menu of Southern comfort food. “You will find items like our popular fried chicken, jambalaya, red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese and fried okra,” says Nixon.  

Meals cost about $7 and are all-you-care-to eat. Students can use meal plans at both Maple and West halls.  

UNT Dining is a self-supported food service department with five dining halls, 16 retail locations, one full-service restaurant and a full-service catering department.

 - Submitted by Alexis Barnfield, marketing specialist, Dining Services, and Alyssa Yancey, News Promotions (Photo by Michael Clements)

Posted on: Mon 17 October 2011

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