Since the Rambler initially reported on the concerns surrounding the latest health inspection score of the Transy Cafeteria, many new & reassuring details have come to light. Here is the most up-to-date information that we have on the situation:
Inspired by a discussion between Transy’s Student Government and Bon Appétit representatives, SGA would host a public town hall event on Friday, April 14th. The open discussion featured General Manager Chris Harris and Catering Director Erin Chenault. It was at this event that many questions would be answered, and concerns addressed.
Tuesday, April 11th, was a “perfect storm,” according to Harris and his team. The fire suppression system was triggered at the start of lunch by a still unknown cause in the Rafskeller Cafe, which shut off all the gas in the kitchen and prevented lunch from continuing. Soon after this chaotic situation, a health inspector arrived for an investigation, responding to concerns about potential food-borne illnesses. Harris continually emphasized the difference between a normal inspection and this investigation. The inspector showed up without warning, and the kitchen staff was not allowed to correct minor violations that would otherwise be forgiven. For example, Harris claimed that a violation for improper food dating that was listed on the investigation report was the result of a batch of salsa that had expired the previous day. While the salsa was set out on a table with other items that needed to be thrown away, the health inspector saw it and marked off points. As for the concerns that the inspection report containing the score was covered up on Tuesday and Wednesday, Harris stated that it was “unintentional,” and that “a lot of things got moved around” in the disarray of Tuesday morning.
When discussing the 86 grade from the investigation, the major concern held by students of food poisoning was immediately contested by Harris. He made sure it was clear that the health inspector “found no indicators of food poisoning,” despite the harsh score. Actual violations included decorative plants & books in the kitchen, chipped metal in food storage units, stocks in a cooling room not being covered, chicken that was in the process of being cooked at 5° below the required temperature, and the most severe citation resulting from what Harris described as “10 dish gnats” around a drain. Harris assured those in attendance that all of these issues had been or would be resolved before a follow-up inspection.
All representatives for Bon Appétit and the Transylvania administration expressed regret over the concern that this inspection had caused, stating that it had “been years” since they received a score less than 99, and that they took pride in the quality of food they serve to students, faculty, and staff. One of the most repeated points of the night was that Bon Appétit had an “open door policy” that they wanted to normalize in the cafeteria. “If there is an issue, come to us,” Harris stated. Harris and others at the town hall suggested ideas such as kitchen tours, student forums on dining, and further cooperation between SGA and the dining staff, all in an effort to be as transparent with the Transylvania community as possible.
Image credits to Transylvania University