Dorm food can be the curse of any college student. But changes could be on the horizon for the Creekside Eatery at UAA housing, initiated by the new head chef, Luke Gilligan. Brought in toward the end of last semester, Gilligan has started a plan to improve the quality of the notoriously bad dorm food.
Having spent the last 12 years running the Hotel Captain Cook restaurant, Gilligan accepted the head position at the UAA Creekside Eatery and started about three months ago. Gilligan has experience in many aspects of the culinary industry, from chef to manager to ice sculptor, and he spends several weeks of every year on sabbatical searching for the most demanding chef who will teach him new tricks of the trade. With this same enthusiasm and dedication, Gilligan is beginning to redirect the menu at the Creekside Eatery and how food is being prepared.
“I just couldn’t believe the condition of the food being served last semester. With students relying on the food here, it just has to be better,” Gilligan said.
From a fresher salad bar to pre-made sandwiches at the deli, it would seem that quality is on the rise. Gilligan has even changed the kind of bread used at the eatery, from the frozen buns and pizza crusts that were used last semester, to freshly baked breads. The salad bar is no longer serving iceberg lettuce and now offers a heartier and more nutritious romaine mix. The grill now serves fajitas in addition to its regular menu. Gilligan aims to serve better, fresher and more nutritious food to students dependent on the Creekside Eatery.
“My goal is to produce a quality of food that I would be happy to eat. If I can do that, I figure we have reached our mark,” Gilligan said.
There is still much in store for the Creekside Eatery. Plans are in the works to revamp the Asian station and to add new options to the dining hall’s menu.
As it now stands, Gilligan plans to stay at the Creekside Eatery for at least the next three months, which will give him time to finish his changes and to make sure they stick before possibly moving to the Lucy Cuddy Center.
Students are already speaking up about the changes. Carol Grenning, a freshman at UAA, is thrilled to see the food system turning over a new leaf.
“I’ve begun to notice the changes. I haven’t tried all of the new things, but what I have has been good. I hope they keep it up,” Grenning said.
Gilligan has already begun to receive feedback, both personally and though comment cards from students who have spoken up. Gary Relgol, a sophomore, has been dependent on the Creekside Eatery during his two years at UAA.
“I had expected dorm food when I came to college and so had low expectations, but my first year here I was still disappointed,” Relgol said. “Lately I’ve started to notice that there are fresh sandwiches at the end of the deli, and they are pretty good too.”