Why Do We Eat What We Do?: Behind the Scenes in the Cafeteria

by Louisa Wetzel

The cafeteria is a hub of activity at ASW, the rare place in the school regularly visited by students, parents, and faculty from all division. However, not many people at ASW know much about how the cafeteria functions.

The ASW cafeteria is run by an outside company called CPS. According to Ada Nesterowicz, a CPS representative, the ASW cafeteria uses ingredients that are supplied by certified companies which have been chosen by the head chef. When choosing which dishes are served, the cafeteria takes into account which fruits and vegetables are in season. Another factor in designing the cafeteria menu is the food pyramid and the choices that the clients make. The head chef, along with the school’s dietician, work together to decide the meals which are to be served to the students.

The ASW cafeteria. Photo by Louisa Wetzel.

A student may wonder how the prices of the hot meals are decided. The cafeteria’s vegetarian and meat dishes are determined in advance by the higher-ups together with the school. The price of the “health kick” and “premium” dishes are decided based on the seasonal quality of the products they use, which is why they are more expensive than others.

The meals that have had the most success and that are most commonly served in the ASW cafeteria are the kebab, pasta served with many different sauces (cheese, tomato, carbonara), and salmon served in many different combinations.  

For this year and the upcoming school year, the cafeteria staff would like to find out more about the everyday diet choices of the students, which will allow them to collect data which they can use to better plan meals. For this purpose, the cafeteria has created an anonymous questionnaire in order to learn more about the students’ preferences. If you want to find your favorite food served in the cafeteria, click on this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeKdc2qmu2izZ1o4-dg2P01nn7box6SuQCPMoAGrpY2ERtuxQ/viewform?usp=sf_link.

Many international schools in Europe, including the American International School of Bucharest (AISB) and the Anglo American School of Moscow (AAS), run cafeterias similar to that at ASW.

Bianca Vranceanu, a student from AISB, says that the food in their cafeteria is very diverse and is all organic. “We used to have soda; now we have Bio juice, for example. They don’t serve fried food often. The meals usually consist of vegetables and protein.”

Even though the food is very healthy, the meals are at AISB are quite expensive. For example, a full meal (soup, main, and dessert) is 25 Lei which is the equivalent of 22 Zloty. Bianca said, “I think the students enjoy the food. All of my friends and the majority of the student and staff eat from the cafeteria. The food tastes good and the menu changes daily, so we are exposed to a large variety.”

According to Ulana Hirniak, a student at AAS, “A majority of our food” in the AAS cafeteria “is healthy, but we have cake, Ice cream, and a sweet section so the students have a wide variety of options.”

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