Gastronome reaches for higher standards

In Campus News, News
Following a complaint involving raw chicken that was served to students on Feb. 21, the CSUF Gastronome is looking to focus more on upholding high standards and engaging with the student body. (Roberto Muniz / Daily Titan)

Cal State Fullerton’s Gastronome staff hold themselves to a higher standard following a complaint last semester.

“We look at this like if it was a restaurant and we come to this campus with a level of hospitality,” said Rhonda Robinson, Food Service Director with Aramark at the Gastronome.
The cafeteria-like breakfast, lunch and dinner stop works on the Aramark standard. Aramark is the company that provides the food service at the Gastronome.
“Aramark has very rigorous policies and procedures and standards,” Robinson said.
On Feb. 21, the Gastronome received reports that undercooked chicken was served to a group of students.
The complaint prompted an inspection by Department of Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety Inspector Justine Baldacci three days after, according to the CSUF Food Facility Inspection Reports.
Baldacci conducted a routine inspection of the Gastronome on Aug. 23, awarding it a rating of 93 out of 100–its third consecutive “A,” according to the report filed on the CSUF Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety website.
The staff’s dedication to maintaining health and safety standards is the result of the three consecutive “A’s”, said Larry Martin, director of Housing and Residence Life.
Robinson believes that upholding Aramark’s high expectations everyday will prevent any incident similar to what happened last semester.
It’s a new school year, and with that, there are goals for the Gastronome. According to Martin, one goal is to continue to engage with the community in a variety of ways.
“A big piece in their connection and engagement is here in the Gastronome, seeing programming that is taking place in partnership with Aramark and Housing & Residence Life throughout the year,” Martin said.
The engagement that Gastronome chef Ubirajara Martins and Robinson have with students began since the welcome openings by welcoming them to their home, Martin said.
Students have a variety of ways to communicate any new food or any comments they have about the Gastronome. Some of them are through social media, by call or text, by emailing, through “napkin talk” or by speaking with Robinson.
“Napkin talk” is a way students can anonymously write down their thoughts about the food and post it on a bulletin board by the Gastronome dish return.
Robinson remembers that once “lemon pie” was written on a napkin. She took it down, spoke with the chef about it, and within three days, there was lemon pie.
Students who have meal plans at the Gastronome expressed their thoughts about it.
Freshman Victor Saude, who is on a seven-day meal plan, said he liked that he can eat as much as he wants and whenever he wants.
Freshman business major Grant Hirata is not satisfied with the operation hours.
“I don’t like how it’s open until eight o’clock because sometimes I’ll be eating dinner way too late and they’re already closing,” Hirata said.
At the Gastronome they want to connect with the community and provide the best service to the students.

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