Food For Thought brings new food, new hours
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 17:10
There has been a certain grumbling heard resonating throughout the halls of Parkland College. Emanating from the hungry stomachs and mouths of many Parkland students, this grumbling asks, “Why is Food for Thought closed so early?”
“I am only at Parkland during the evenings,” stated Jenna Czubek, a Community Health major at the University of Illinois. “Sometimes my day is so busy I do not have time to eat before coming to Parkland. I know Mama Leone's is open, but I'm not always looking for something as unhealthy as pizza or a sandwich.”
The reason for the change in the food service hours of operation is the introduction of a new company, known as Food For Thought, which is tasked with the mission of satisfying the appetites of Parkland's students.
Head Chef Shaun Brown, the general manager of Food For Thought at Parkland, had a simple explanation for why the hours of operation have been shortened: quality over quantity.
“There are so many factors that go into deciding the hours of operation,” Brown explained. “You have your labor, your food and how much you are charging for the food. In order to keep the food at the low prices we have them at now, we have to keep the hours the way they are.”
At its core, Food For Thought is about providing quality food for decent prices. “We gear ourselves towards locally sourced food as much as we can. More health conscious food and more cooking from scratch,” Brown said.
As with any major change in people's comfort zones, certain problems present themselves. Many Parkland students had grown fond of items previously available and were upset to no longer see them.
Essentially, the food is completely different from what the previous company was providing. “With a small company like Food For Thought, we are able to put our love and quality into the food as much as possible,” Brown explained.
“Most of the complaints we have received are from students wishing to have items that were previously available back on the shelves,” Brown stated. “However, those foods were not up to our standards as far as their level of healthiness and freshness.”
Despite a few minor complaints, many students are quite satisfied with the changes Food For Thought has brought about.
“The burgers are definitely a step up from those microwaved, gas-station burgers they used to have,” general studies student Josh Krueger proclaimed.
The relatively small confines of the cafeteria have restricted many of the ideas Brown wants to bring to the table, such as hand breaded chicken tenders. However, there are more improvements on the horizon that will come with the opening of the new student center.
“We absolutely cannot wait to get into the new student center,” Brown exclaimed. “It is going to entail a bigger space and different equipment that is going to allow us to do more from-scratch cooking at a bigger scale and really allow us to bring home what our company is all about.”
Future improvements students can look forward to include a salad station and sandwich station where employees will hand-make the food to customer specifications.
“At the end of the road, we are really going to be able to show what the company is about to the students and faculty of Parkland,” Brown stated. “It is an exciting thing to be a part of.”
The current hours of operation for the main cafeteria are from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., while Momma Leone's is open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. So, while one may not be able to get a burger after 2:00 pm, there is comfort in knowing the burgers available up until that time are actually what they claim to be.