by Max Waite ’21
Earlier this month, Raymond Dining Hall premiered its brand-new “U-Cook” station to the Providence College community.
This new station provides an opportunity for students to have a more unique dining experience, as students can personally prepare their own food.
The station currently features mainly breakfast items such as eggs and vegetables, but students are free to roam the food court and toss into their sauté pan whatever ingredients are necessary to make their dining experience unique.
It is new, fun opportunities like this that Stuart Gerhardt, manager of Raymond Dining Hall, is always looking to implement into the College’s dining hall. Gerhardt stated, “A lot of students say that they wish that they could cook for themselves, so the opportunity was there to try to create a station where we could put different items on it, and then kids could go up to it and cook what they want.”
As part of the development process of the U-Cook station, Gerhardt consulted the Student Congress Food Committee. This committee represents every class, and is a place where ideas on how to add things or make things different in the dining hall are discussed.
The idea of a self-cook type station in Ray was “always in discussion,” said Gerhardt. Finally, a set of equipment was provided in order to experiment with how students would utilize the station.
Gerhardt is pleased with the results of the station so far and looks forward to further improving the station in the near future with some more permanent equipment.
The main idea behind the U-Cook station is creativity, as the station thrives on the creativity of young minds.
Sean Breuche ’21 expressed his strong approval of the up-and-coming food station. “I really enjoy cooking food for my family when I am home, and I take pride in my ability to successfully experiment with different foods to see what I come up with. Now, with the new self-cooking station, I can cook up whatever I’m hungry for that will help me get along with my day.”
Even students without a culinary background manage to find a way to enjoy a wholesome meal, while at the same time acquiring a new skill set at the new self-cook station.
Peter Abbe ’21 said, “I really enjoy the new U-Cook station. As a cooking novice, I feel a great sense of accomplishment after I prepare a meal for myself. The next time I’m home, I definitely want to put my skills to the test in my own kitchen!”
Other changes to the dining experience at Ray include a Tuesday night protein carving on the comfort line for students to enjoy. Now that the U-Cook station has emerged onto the scene, many students have been wondering if there are any other cool additions to the dining hall that could potentially come to fruition in the near future.
Ultimately, Gerhardt and his team at Ray, along with the Student Congress Food Committee are always looking for some new ideas to bring to the table. These ideas can come from trade magazines, websites, and even other schools’ dining halls.
But what really matters is our opinion as a Friar Family. Thus, students are encouraged to offer their own insights and recommendations to the Student Congress Food Committee, whether positive or negative.
From there, these ideas can be discussed so that our overall dining experience can fulfill our expectations.