Science - June 19, 2008

Forum hot lunches go down well

Throw the vegetables into the wok, add rice, stir fry, and it’s ready to eat. In Forum you can choose your own ingredients and have a plate of hot food cooked in front of your eyes. The canteen has been serving hot lunches for almost two months now, and they are tasty too.

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‘I eat here every day,’ says Nicolas. The young Frenchman on an internship at Plant Breeding is tucking into a plate of spaghetti Bolognese. He likes the food. ‘It’s fine for students. I’m used to eating a hot meal twice a day, so I was glad when they started selling hot food here.’

The canteen lady is happy to adjust the ingredients to the customers’ wishes. So Christina Flann gets her pasta sauce without onions, because they don’t agree with her. ‘The food here tastes good and the price is fine. If it were open in the evenings, I’d definitely eat here,’ says Christina, who works at Biosystematics. ‘My favourite? The chicken curry.’

Between forty and sixty meals a day are sold, catering manager Bas Luiten tells. The hot lunch experiment started at the end of April. ‘The results are good enough to also start selling hot meals in the Leeuwenborch next academic year,’ says Luiten. Whether they’ll start serving hot meals in the evenings he doesn’t know for sure. It’s not busy enough at the moment in Forum, but that could change. ‘And feel free to write your suggestions down for other dishes on one of the cards by the cash desk,’ he adds.

Fredy Saudale, who’s doing a master’s in Biotechnology, always used to bring his own bread and cheese from home. Now he’s walking with a steaming plate of food, together with three fellow students. ‘We spend the whole day in Forum, so it’s fun to eat together.’ But at nearly four euros a plate, it’s quite expensive for a student budget. He likes the idea of being able to eat in Forum in the evenings, though he wouldn’t do so daily. ‘Yes, cooking yourself is always cheaper,’ adds Grazyna, from Poland.

The hot lunches don’t attract many Dutch students. ‘I do like the soup,’ says Ferry van de Mosselaer, as he helps himself to a bowl. The Dutch animal scientists Mieke and Jeroen can’t imagine eating a warm meal at lunchtime: they’ve got their own sandwiches with them.

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