Taste of SIU samples new Lentz options: are they any good?

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Aug. 23 hundreds of students and faculty filled the Roman room of the Student Center to try the spread of food that awaited them.

The food was served by 15 different vendors that all cater to the Lentz dining hall under Gordon food company. Among the vendors were PepsiCo, Pillsbury, RMS market, and Waypoint.

Leslie Sned, a customer service development specialist for Gordon Food Service was among those who helped coordinate the event.


Sned said Gordon Food Service usually does a small food show for the housing staff to show and test new products but have opened the event to the student body.

“We wanted to expand it this year and get more students involved, we had a great turnout and are hoping to make this an annual event,” Sned said.

Gordon Food Service is the local food vendor and distributor for the university this year. The company has existed for 120 years offering catering to local communities.

“We’re seeing a much larger turnout than what we expected, it’s outstanding,” Brandon Macier, assistant director of marketing for the Student Center said.

Macier said he was elated the event had such a big turnout.

“We really wanted to get a larger scope of what the students want outside of housing,” Macier said.

The goal of the event was to receive student feedback on dining options here on campus, Macier said.


Across from the large spread of food were survey sheets students could fill out in regards to the food they sampled.

“We really want the student voice to dictate what we bring to the student center and also university dining,” Macier said.

Sampling the foods: Yay or nay?

You’d think with a huge crowd of people the food would be really good, but you have to remember — all of this food is in the dining hall. On the plus side, it was free.

RMS Market, the bread-based goods provider for Lentz this year, had steaming bread loaves on display while serving turkey sandwiches to attendees.

Their turkey sandwiches were a hit with the crowd. The simple sandwich came on white or wheat bread, with sliced turkey, cheddar cheese and lettuce.

The bread was the best part, and the turkey was moist.

Another vendor served steak nachos, with well-seasoned steak and the chips kept their crunch. The quality was comparable to Don Taco’s steak nachos.

Rizwits had meatless dishes, some of which missed the mark terribly. The meatless taco used a flour tortilla and was extremely bland and dry.

Rizwits’ meatless meatballs had red pepper flakes, but it wasn’t very spicy and the meatball itself was also dry.

Minth served Chinese food. The orange chicken was very tender and the sauce wasn’t excessively sweet. The eggrolls were crisp, but there was too much cabbage and garlic.

Pillsbury served pre-packaged croissants kept under a heated lamp. There was a thin layer of chocolate in the middle, but the outside had the consistency of a biscuit, missing the flakey nature of a croissant.

Pillsbury served an oatmeal-style dish that could be mistaken for apple butter, given the thin and pasty nature.

All 15 vendors will be included in the regular rotation of Lentz dining hall for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Staff reporter Farrah Blaydes can be reached at fblaydes@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @Farrah_Blaydes.

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