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Springfield College’s new Food Service Director David Ingala strives to improve Cheney Dining Hall

Stephen Monahan

Located on the Judd Gymnasia side of Cheney Dining Hall is a spacious office with neatly stacked supplies surrounding the desk.

Stationed at a tall, black chair typing on one of his two computers on the desk, new Food Service Director David Ingala can be found working away on possible plans for the dining options at Springfield College.

“My background since I was 18 was in food service and retail,” said Ingala. “From when I started at Wesleyan University, the setup and size of the account at Springfield College drew me in to becoming a part of the college.”

With multiple food operations on campus, ranging from the Fresh Food company program at Cheney to the two satellite coffee shops, Ingala saw improvements that could be made.

“One of the biggest things I saw across the board was our program at Cheney, the Fresh Food company, was not being run at the level that the program should be,” said Ingala. “Catering overall was being executed well, but I saw some behind the scenes opportunities to improve the execution of the program.”

Better training of employees became essential. To inform food service staff of these new plans for change, Ingala hosted a “Welcome Back” meeting over winter break and introduced the projected timeline.

As training would be underway for the first two months, the focus would shift to improving how recipes are being executed and how they can be adjusted to the needs of students on campus.  

Senior Johanna Shaw has already seen a difference in what is being offered.

“I have noticed that there are major differences with Cheney food options from last semester to now,” said Shaw. “There is a bigger variety for people that have dietary need.

From having a chopped salad station to a make-your-own pizza station, students can now choose meals that satisfy both their health requirements and their taste buds.

Consistency throughout the day is another major concern that has been brought up to Ingala over the course of the semester.

“What I have tackled with the management team is to ensure that when we open, we should close the same way we open – full and fresh” said Ingala.

Other changes related to the way in which the food is presented. Ingala noticed students’ eating habits would consist of getting a plate and going from one station to another to fill it. The design of the Fresh Food company is to create food on a plate to allow students to eat according to what would fill their stomachs, rather than having students fill up a plate and realize they took too much by the end of the meal.

For example, when walking by the grill station in Cheney, students can select a red plastic basket with a black and white serving paper on top, rather than the usual porcelain plates. A staff member at the grill will then place the food in the basket for students to take back to their table.

“The food is prepared and cooked better,” said junior Jason Robinson. “The portions are not as big as before, but overall, the food has more flavoring due to the spices and seasoning that are being used.”

With new situations arising every day, the food service program can always be tweaked to run more efficiently in the eyes of Ingala. However, it is that same spirit that will make on-campus dining a truly fulfilling experience for Springfield College students.

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