Kent’s Dining Hall Team: An Appreciation


Emily Yuan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Having worked in the Kent Dining Hall since November, 2018, Ms. Christianne (Chris) Malinowski performs the magic of serving hundreds of students — three meals a day, seven days a week, 10 months a year — along with 23 other kitchen wizards. 

Let’s start off with some facts: every year, the dining hall goes through 25,000 hamburgers, almost 5000 pizzas, 4000 pounds of shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 2000 pounds of American Cheese, 65,000 eggs, 6000 pounds of French Fries, 4000 pounds of broccoli, 2700 pounds of yogurt, 15,000 slices of bacon, and 1000 gallons of orange juice. These are truly mind-boggling numbers! What’s more impressive is that the dining hall makes almost everything they serve from scratch, from clam chowder soup to cookies and cakes for dessert. On top of that, they often offer intricate recipes at Sunday brunch by serving Eggs Benedict and Crême Brulée French Toast, which is a community-wide favorite.

As Chris gave a tour around the kitchen, Harold was preparing bacon for breakfast the next day while other chefs were seasoning the steak for dinner that night. Each ingredient is organized in the corresponding freezer ahead of time, so that the dining hall can efficiently feed hundreds of people during the approximately two-hour meal time. The dining hall staff also care for students who follow a vegetarian and gluten-free diet, and they also put extra effort to make sure they have delicious meals options to accommodate everyone’s different needs.

When the campus hosts special events, such as the Ring Ceremony, the dining hall is particularly occupied. “At graduation last year, every single staff in the dining hall arrived at 6 A.M., and we made 14,000 to-go sandwiches in less than two hours,” Chris recalled. They even put them in thermal bags along with desserts, chips, and a drink so the families could conveniently grab a full meal on the busy and exciting day. The dining hall still served lunch and dinner for underformers who were preparing for their exams. 

“There is no typical day in the dining hall,” Chris shared. Depending on the weather and whether students have classes, there will be a different number of students in the servery, which changes how much the dining hall cooks and how it operates. “When there’s a popular meal, such as General Tso chicken, the line once extended outside the servery from 5:00 P.M. until 6:45 P.M.,” Chris laughed. Coming in five days each week, Chris is usually in the dining hall from 10:15 A.M. to 7 PM, and she also covers the snack bar on Monday evenings. 

“The best part about working in the dining hall is the students,” Chris smiled affectionately. “I love the ‘yummy food noise’ that a student makes when they see their favorite meal served.” As she reflects on her experience as a dining hall magician, everyday is a different adventure. “Some better than others,” she joked, “but all worth the ride!” Truly, we have much to thank our dining hall staff for — their constant hard work and devotion to serve Kent students delicious, warmly-prepped meals and smiles.