Culinary campus wishes

Does the campus need a sober bar or a starred restaurant? Is it high time we put more circularity, celery juice or ‘seacuterie’ on the menu? Resource asked around, in anticipation of the project ‘The Future of Food & Beverage @WUR’, which is going to review the catering options on campus.

Text: Marieke Enter

Mao Xiong
PhD student at the Laboratory for Plant Breeding
‘I think Unilever’s company restaurant is by far the best place for lunch on campus: the other eateries could follow their example. To me, the menus in the restaurants in Orion and Impulse are boring. Always the same old filled rolls. The hot meals are not very interesting either, especially the vegetarian ones. At Unilever, the food is very varied, tasty – and cheaper than other places on campus. The dishes are also presented very attractively – nearly every plate is Instagrammable. The Unilever cooks really do a good job of it. I’m crazy about yoghurt, for instance. Instead of a blob of yoghurt in a bowl, like you get in Orion, at Unilever you get a lovely dessert with fresh fruit and jam. If you ask me, Unilever can do all the catering on campus.’

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Leo van der Heijden
Senior Purchaser at Facilities and Services
‘I notice that more and more colleagues are going for a little walk in the lunch hour, and have their lunch at the same time. Quite logical, really, as we sit all day and obviously don’t get enough exercise – a major health risk. A lunchtime walk is an important “exercise moment” for office workers. So isn’t it a nice challenge for the future caterers on campus to cater better for “walking lunches”? Lunch on the Go? More street food?


Evelien Castrop
MSc student of Earth & Environment

‘I usually bring my own packed lunch. Here in Gaia there is only a little sandwich bar and a bread roll is not filling enough to last me till around five pm. Very occasionally we get Chinese at Campus Plaza. Anyway, I think there’s quite a good choice of cuisines at Campus Plaza. Bringing a packed lunch with me is partly a question of habit. And it prevents food waste. If I’ve got some leftover salad and vegetables, I would rather make a nice lunch salad than throw it out. If WUR asked me about the menus in the various catering outlets, my main advice would be to cut down on the number of bread rolls. I’ve got nothing against bread in itself, but then go for bread that is filling, like wholemeal. Otherwise I feel empty again two hours later. I do think the free fruit is a great initiative, though. At first I was sometimes too late because the bowls were already empty but now I manage to time my fruit moment better.’

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Marte Stoorvogel
Education assistant at Soil Geography & Landscape
‘I like to go for a short walk in the lunch hour so I feel it’s a bit of a waste of time to sit down for an extensive lunch. I might do that with a group of colleagues if I knew there was something very delicious on the menu somewhere. But as far as I know, there is nowhere where you can find an overview of what is being served where on campus this week. If WUR is reviewing the catering facilities, it might be a good moment to give some thought to running even more lunch activities. I often really enjoy the lunchtime lectures in Impulse, for instance. Personally I don’t really feel the need for a catering outlet where you can easily socialize with people you don’t know, by all sitting together at long tables, for instance. I prefer to make lunch appointments with people I know, so as to relax a bit as a break from my work. And as a place to meet new people we already have The Spot, of course. On a Friday afternoon it is certainly easy to meet people you don’t know there. In that sense, The Spot does the job: I don’t think we need another “campus pub” or anything like that.’

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Vera van den Noort
‘Lunch counter lady’ in Atlas
‘About 70 to 100 people get their lunch here every day. Many of them are “regular customers” who I see nearly every day at my counter. I have fixed menus on fixed days, but I try to provide a varied range of options. At least, within the limits of this location. Atlas only has a small kitchen and I’m the only person working here, so serving a full main meal is not an option. We used to have salads as well, but we’ve stopped that as there wasn’t enough demand for them. The bread rolls and soups go down well, and the mustard and curry soups are the clear favourites with Atlas lunchers. I love good food myself. My favourite dish? I don’t really have one – I like everything.’

Food for thought
Food trend-watchers tell us that the future is full of sober bars (which serve only alcohol-free drinks), aperitifs made of fish and seafood (‘seacuterie’) and the celery juice espoused by celebrities. Culinary circularity is going to be hot too, they tell us. But the project ‘The Future of Food & Beverage @WUR’ isn’t about their opinions, but yours. The project group has announced that it will be garnering your wishes and ideas through escalator surveys and polls on Facebook and the intranet. A nice subject to start chewing on!

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