Letters to the Editor

Dear Lawrence Community,
It is with sadness that I write to inform you that I will not be offered a position with Bon Appétit management at the new facility. I will miss the students and staff of Lawrence University greatly.
I hope that during my almost five years here, you have seen an improvement in the quality and diversity of offerings at Downer. I have worked beside many of you in the crumbling old kitchen in the basement of Downer Commons, as well as on projects like ethnic dinners, picnics, farm tours and the SLUG garden.
I leave with a sense of pride and accomplishment having worked under adverse conditions. Not a week went by when something didn’t break, a cooler didn’t stop working, someone wasn’t sick, student workers didn’t call in, or we just didn’t have what we needed. We went through a lot of duct tape in the past five years!
At the same time, we have diversified our offerings, serving more vegetarian and ethnic options on a regular basis. We served more fresh and made-from-scratch foods and procured more food locally and from sustainable sources.
All of this plus the addition of midnight breakfasts and continuous service required more staff, or at least more staff hours. Meanwhile, the cost of food kept going up. We dealt with the rising cost by relying more on staff to process fresh foods and relying less on convenience items.
We did as much as possible within the budget that was approved. During this time the “missed meal” factor was reduced, and the volume of meals served at Downer has increased almost 10 percent annually.
I am proud to have led and worked beside Dining Services staff to deliver these services. I am comforted that both companies considered for outsourcing of the dining services operation at Lawrence expressed the need for additional staff and that staff salaries would likely be elevated. I am further comforted in the fact that the contract service will be paid significantly more than the budget for the current dining services operation.
Farewell, and best wishes to the entire Lawrence community.Peace,
Chef Bob Wall