Once again, Bowdoin's Dining Service takes the cake. The College regained its status of having the "Best Campus Food" as determined by the Princeton Review's most recent college rankings.
Bowdoin last claimed the honor for the 2008 rankings, as Wheaton College (IL) and then Virginia Tech topped the list over the last two years.
"It is a wonderful feeling to know that all the hard work that our staff puts into each meal is recognized and enjoyed by the students," said Thorne Hall Cold Food Production Coordinator Jody Griffin.
Bowdoin has a reputation for great food, but according to Director of Dining & Bookstore Services Mary Kennedy, the dining staff does not focus on the rankings.
"It does give us a lot to live up to," said Kennedy.
Based on his recruitment experience, Meiklejohn said that lots of prospective students do use college rankings to guide the decision-making process.
"If so many people do a college search on 'top 10', then it's great we're showing up," said Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn. However, he noted that the Office of Admissions does not use ratings in its recruitment process.
"We don't promote [rankings], but we do benefit from them," he said.
During recruitment, food hardly comes up in conversation, said Meiklejohn, but when it does, "I joke that food rankings are the ones you can take as most accurate."
Meiklejohn added that at the "it's not healthy for our industry to crow about rankings."
Kennedy, who has been working for Bowdoin Dining for more than 20 years now, believes that the dining halls are more than just a place to eat.
"Dining is an integral part of the residential experience of the campus and we feel respected and supported by the Bowdoin community," she said. "It's important to me that the food and the atmosphere in Dining contributes to students' health and well-being so that they can do their best academically."
"The contribution that food makes to the sense of community is really important; students enjoy dining [in the halls], they hang out there," said Meiklejohn.
Why is the Bowdoin Dining Servicecontinuously ranked as one of the best in the country?
"I do think that fresh, homemade food including produce from our gardens and those of nearby farms is a factor," said Kennedy. "Since many of our menu items and recipe ideas come from the students, there's a nice balance between traditional and emerging food trends."
Students like Josh Flowers '13 are among the ones who are happy to offer their ideas. "They don't marinate the meat as good as they do in the South," said Flowers. Griffin, an employee of the College for six years, believes Bowdoin food is good because "we use excellent ingredients and prepare our dishes from scratch."
Often neglected is the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a delicious and healthy meal. Griffin said dining staff works very hard to ensure high quality.
"From the receiving clerk to the pot washer to the director, each staff member contributes what they can to make the students happy," said Griffin. "Everyone plays their part to make a positive dining experience."
Said Kennedy, "when morale is high, good food follows."