Muhlenberg dining earns accolades

News Image The Princeton Review, Daily Meal give campus food top marks.

 Tuesday, September 13, 2016 11:59 AM

The entire country now has further proof of what countless Muhlenberg students have known for years: Muhlenberg College's food and dining services are top notch.

As part of the 2017 edition of its flagship college guide, "The Best 381 Colleges," The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg #16 in the "Best Campus Food" category.

"We are thrilled to be regarded as one of the strongest programs in the country. Our team works hard to provide nutritionally balanced, appealing food that meets varying needs and life styles of our campus community," said John Pasquarello, general manager of campus dining at Muhlenberg. "Our program offers excellent and unique experiences through creative and cultural menu planning, expert food preparation and innovative presentation. The ranking is reflective of our strong connection to student life on campus."

The Princeton Review Ranking came on the heels of another top food-related honor, a #40 ranking in The Daily Meal's "80 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2016."

The Daily Meal cited the College's fresh, in-house preparation of foods, local ingredients, diverse mix of global cuisines, sustainability efforts, willingness to cater to students' dietary needs and more in their ranking write-up.

Dining is an integral part of student life on Muhlenberg's campus. The sprawling and beautiful Wood Dining Commons opened in 2010, and continues to serve as a social gathering place as well as the hub of food production and consumption on campus.

"Muhlenberg deserves praise for its dining services because of all of the options available to the students prepared by the kind-hearted and talented staff, and the beautiful facilities where these experiences happen.  I am always genuinely excited to enjoy a meal in the dining hall," said Andrew Berdahl '17, student body president emeritus.

Students' dietary restrictions—whether for health, religious or personal preference reasons—are of utmost importance to dining staff, and the College offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options at every meal. Muhlenberg also has a kosher program that is overseen by two mashgichim—supervisors who ensures that the food follows Jewish dietary laws.

Students also appreciate the diverse array of flavors regularly available to them. "Muhlenberg does a great job of integrating foods from all over the world. By going to the dining hall, I'm able to eat foods from Mexico to China," said Liaoliao "Leo" Zhang '18.

Food-centric themed dinners and events are held every month, and greatly anticipated by the student body. Some examples include the Battle of the Chefs, Lunar New Year celebration (featuring an authentic menu including Chinese dumplings that are freshly hand-made by partnering students, faculty and staff), a visiting global chef program, different holiday celebrations from around the world and the annual Late Night Breakfast before spring finals.

The 2017 Princeton Review accolades for Muhlenberg didn't stop at food. They also included a #1 college theatre program ranking, and inclusion in the overall list of "The Best 381 Colleges."