By Brooklyn Pinheiro
The Hub cafeteria will be getting a long awaited expansion according to Joshna Maharaj, assistant director of Food Services and executive chef at Ryerson.
Plans to renovate The Hub for September are underway as part of Ryerson’s initiative to improve food services on campus.
Maharaj would not grant specifics on the renovation, as the details are still in the planning stage.
“We are planning to improve The Hub to better serve the needs of the Ryerson community and whatever we do will be consistent with the other improvements you’ve seen regarding food on campus,” said Julia Hanigsberg, vice president of administration and finance at Ryerson.
The idea to improve The Hub is not new, and comes at a time when Maharaj, who was hired in August, is in the midst of reforming Ryerson’s food services.
Maharaj has made attempts to purchase locally grown food, and make more meals from scratch.
The new Hub will allow Ryerson to create more menu options with those ideals in mind.
“More grilled options would be good, like more things similar to a pasta bar,” said Colleen Filson, a first-year creative industries student.
The new Hub will also better meet the needs of students with dietary requirements including vegetarian, glutton free and halal options.
The Hub is currently only using one third of the space that is available. The other two thirds will be opened up by demolishing an existing wall. The new size will bring a “market-fresh feel,” Maharaj said.
“It’s very important to Ryerson that the physical space for food service mirror the food we are serving which is wholesome, affordable, and made with care,” Maharaj said.
“The food’s good here but they’re understaffed, the lines take a long time,” said Rachel Boere, a first-year creative industry student.
Maharaj encountered this comment during a food service town hall meeting last Wednesday and acknowledges that this is also a concern they are working on and hope to alleviate it with the new equipment available in the renovated Hub, which will also better serve the staff.
Food served in the new Hub is going to be brand-free, 100 per cent made from scratch and locally sourced, according to Kevin Booth, district manager of Chartwells, Ryerson’s food service provider. Chartwells became Ryerson’s food service provider in August because of their willingness to adapt to what Ryerson wanted according to Maharaj. Before Chartwells the food service company Aramark was in charge of food distribution on campus.
“Building this custom space will allow us to ever change and grow,” Booth said.
“I think that as a student on campus it’s exciting to see that food is affordable and I’ve heard from other students as well that it’s good quality,” said Rajean Hoilett, Ryerson Students’ Union vice president of equity, at the town hall meeting.
The increased size and updated equipment will enable the Hub to serve more nutritious meals made from locally produced food. Ryerson has already signed with 20 local farmers, a number that is continuously growing, according to Booth.
“The new Hub will really allow us to serve our new menu to the fullest,” Maharaj said.