UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna. (Contributed)

Big changes to food services at UBC Okanagan

Healthy, high-quality food on the menu as UBCO staffs up for in-house operations

Some fresh new food options will be hot and ready at UBC Okanagan starting next month.

A contractor has operated food services since the campus opened in 2005, but services will now be taken in-house and run by Student Housing and Hospitality Services starting July 1.

“This is great for our students, faculty and staff, and the wider community,” says Rob Einarson, associate vice-president of finance and operations.

“UBC operates one of the largest and most complex food service programs in Canada on the Vancouver campus. UBC Okanagan is in a unique position to replicate the Vancouver model and use its strengths and resources to deliver a unique, world-class, UBC Okanagan food service program.”

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UBCO Food Services’ portfolio will consist of 11 campus locations—a mix of in-house brands representing a variety of culturally diverse foods, and franchises including Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Subway. While franchises will remain the same, all in-house food outlets will offer new and enhanced menu items, new or refreshed brands and improved customer service.

The schools continued growth prompted the change. Since opening 14 years ago, UBC Okanagan’s enrolment has grown from 3,500 to 10,000 students. The school is planning on building a new 500-seat dining hall as part of the Nechako student residence project by fall 2021.

“Our campus population is now large enough to make a self-operated food service business model viable as a part of the UBC food service system,” says Einarson.

“The aim of UBCO Food Services is to continuously improve the campus experience. At the same time, we will support UBC’s academic mission by nourishing thousands of people with a wide variety of high-quality foods every day in a socially and ecologically conscious manner in alignment with UBC’s food vision and values.”

The new culinary program is being pioneered by world-class executive chef Shelley Robinson and David Speight, executive chef and culinary director with Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

“My culinary team is excited and committed to creating healthy choices for all meals, as we recognize the contribution eating well makes to academic and professional success,” says Robinson.

“In addition to UBCO serving 100 per cent Ocean Wise fish and seafood, our menus will have a hyper-focus on sustainability, ensuring an abundance of plant-based, locally sourced and certified Fairtrade products.”

The school says they are hiring about 30 new staff to accommodate the new program.


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