Joshna Maharaj, Ryerson's head chef. PHOTO COURTESY RYERSON UNIVERSITY

Year-end review: Chartwells

In News /

By Emily Theordore

In the midst of the chip bags, granola bars, yogurt and the typical ham-and-cheese sandwich, Ryerson students can now eat something new.

Besides the plethora of pre-packaged food options, Ryerson’s cafeteria food supplier of 2013/2014 school year, Chartwells, aimed to make Ryerson’s food service a serious option for students.

“Food should be wholesome, affordable and delicious,” said Joshna Maharaj, the assistant director of food services and executive chef for Ryerson. “Because amidst all the fast food and the big chains that exist, this actually could be a place where really, really high quality, wholesome food exists.”

With dishes like beef korma, steamed rice, grilled vegetables and channa masala offered in Pittman Hall, Chartwells has taken an ethnic spin on the typical cafeteria-style lunch. Breakfast classics such as bacon and egg dishes are served for breakfast.

Other options include soups such as beef chili and cream of zucchini. Vegan tomato coconut soup is also prepared.

But does the Chartwells lineup measure up?

Some commuters think the menu isn’t too shabby.

“We’ll come eat at the cafeteria at Pittman if we’re working here,” said Aaron Sutto, a first year masters Aerospace Engineering student said. “I like the chicken burger and the poutine. They’re relatively filling and the price is fair for the amount.”

Others couldn’t disagree more.

“Most things are too expensive, especially the drinks,” said Jeffrey Haber, another first year masters Aerospace Engineering student. “I don’t come out of my way to eat here.”

When Chartwells replaced Ryerson’s previous food service company, Aramark, Ryerson and Chartwells had no incentive to raise prices.

“We’re not operating on a bottom line or a profit and loss type of relationship,” said district manager of Chartwells Kevin Booth.

Some students on residence think otherwise.

“The pay-as-you-go concept isn’t great because you could be stuck paying over $7 for something that you may not even like,” said Millie Yates, a first year Fashion Design student. “I sometimes eat somewhere else.”

Besides the new additions to the menu, those who are obligated to eat at Ryerson on a regular basis are tired of what is offered.

“The unhealthy food is good, but there isn’t much of healthy choice,” said Nicola Place, a first year student living in Pittman Hall. “There’s salad, I eat the pitas and soup. But it gets old. The selection gets old.”

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