With menu items as diverse as Mongolian barbecue, rotisserie chicken, Brazilian barbecue made on a churrasco grill, Thai curries and noodle soups, Korean tacos, and pozole, it’s safe to say that college dining has evolved.
Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons at Harvey Mudd College offers these culinary selections—all made in-house from scratch—to Harvey Mudd students and to those from the other Claremont Colleges, who often line up early in anticipation. It’s no surprise then that Harvey Mudd made The Daily Meal’s third annual list of the best colleges for food. The College debuted at No. 46.
The Daily Meal, a website which covers a variety of food and drink topics, considered 2,000 American four-year colleges and looked at every aspect of the dining experience. According to The Daily Meal, “…we chose the final 75 by looking at specific efforts each college was making toward improving taste, nutrition, and community and deciding what was really exceptional. It seems that students across the country are becoming more mature in their tastes and demanding in what they expect of their college dining experience. Students want their food to taste great, to be fun, and to be sustainable, and colleges are responding.”
Harvey Mudd was lauded for going trayless and offering reusable cups and to-go containers. Students can track the nutrition of all meals through My Fitness Pal and Fitbit, with whom Harvey Mudd partners, and they can enjoy some healthy competition during a Copper Chef Competition (modeled after Iron Chef), held several times each academic year. Dining services works with students who have special diets and food allergies, and all lead employees have completed gluten-free training through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Schools program, allowing Harvey Mudd to earn recognition as a GREAT School. The diversity of local eateries—about 50 within walking distance—also gave the College a boost in the rankings.
“We have invested heavily in kitchen equipment and talented chefs in order to make possible any menu imaginable,” said Miguel Ruvalcaba, dining services general manager at Harvey Mudd. “We also work closely with our student-run food committee to make their on-campus dining experience as varied and fun as our students, faculty and staff.”
Recent upgrades to the Hoch-Shanahan dining facilities include:
- The addition of a second exhibition cooking station called Creations to accommodate increased demand for a menu of foods cooked fresh and in front of diners while they wait.
- A new bakery station, where staff cook fresh pastries in front of diners throughout the day.
- A new ice cream/yogurt station.
- Digital signs that help students choose their meals and assist with service line management.
The Daily Meal used the following criteria to judge the 75 best colleges for food in America for 2014:
Nutrition and Sustainability: Each college on this list makes consistent efforts to ensure that their food is well-balanced, as well as tasty, and is healthy not just for the students, but for the environment as well.
Accessibility and Service: Colleges accommodate all dietary preferences, have a variety of options for students to choose from, and make sure that the dining options are conveniently located to students’ dorms. Dining locations on campus that were open late night or whose meal plans let students purchase off-campus food were given special consideration.
Education and Events: Colleges offer nutrition and culinary education to every student on campus, and they also hold multiple exciting and delicious food-centered events to foster community and break the monotony of the dining experience.
Surrounding Area: Students have access to exciting and vast food options in the area surrounding the college and can access it easily. We compiled information from Yelp to find out the quality and accessibility of all the food around campuses within a 5-mile radius.
The “X” Factor: These are the little extras that made our jaws drop and set colleges ahead of the pack.