Even Record Blizzards Couldn’t Stop Bon Appétit Teams This Winter

The snow has finally have melted from Northeast streets, but people won’t soon forget the gray days of slogging through slush and waiting out school closures. And no matter what the weather, college students still need to eat. Here are three stories of Bon Appétit teams that went to extraordinary lengths to make sure they could. 

Emmanuel Students Pitch in to Fight Juno

With a total accumulation of almost 40 inches of snow, the winter storm Juno threw off life as planned for most Bostonians.

Frank Padula, student worker, and  Mohammed Kanu, floor worker, covered in snow from braving the storm to come in and help.

Frank Padula, student worker, and Mohammed Kanu, floor worker, covered in snow from braving the storm to come in and help.

But following in the deep footsteps of the individual who shoveled and cleared the marathon finish line, the team at Bon Appétit made sure at least mealtimes were normal at Emmanuel College. The  six managers came armed with overnight bags on Monday, ready to endure what was sure to be a very challenging  next few days. With food stocked up and paper plates on hand to reduce labor, service hours stayed consistent and all stations but one remained open.

It helps that the team’s all-hands-on-deck approach keeps the account a wonderful well-oiled machine regardless of weather. During Juno, titles went out the window, and all team members donned all hats to get the job  done. Pat Sevy, Muddy River manager, was the pizza cook for the day, while General Manager Robin Fortado and Dining Room Manager Catherine Corbo set up the salad bar and deli station and even  helped with food prep in the back. Café Manager Arthur Seymour put on a chef’s coat for the day to make stuffed shells and grilled chicken. Sous Chef Keith Silva barely even had time to stop and eat himself because he wanted to ensure the best of meals for the students stranded on campus. Director of Operations Pedro Fernandes not only cooked nonstop, but also finished up a 16-hour day in the dish room, making sure no mess was left for the workers coming in the next morning.

Student workers Shana Solomon and Abigail Murphy lending a hand

Student workers Shana Solomon and
Abigail Murphy lending a hand

The lunch menu was served as planned, with Parmesan chicken, roast beef, tofu stir-fry, the baked potato bar, all the grill specials, and more. Dinner transitioned without a hitch into stuffed shells, flank steak with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, barbecue pork chops, a deli bar, vegan chili, and continuous grill and pizza stations.

Throughout the day, more staffers showed up to lend a hand, including Floor Worker Mohammed Kanu, who wore a big smile the whole day. Several student workers — Paige Southworth, Abigail Murphy, Shana Solomon, Rachel Romiero, and  Frank Padula — trudged through the epic snow to lend additional hands, making grilled cheese, cashiering, and restocking throughout the night. All the guests were extremely grateful for the café being open and having warm food for them.

emmannuel_thankyous_Page_1The next day brought sunshine as well as exhaustion. However, as the management team entered the loading dock doors mentally preparing for more, they heard the sound of a bustling kitchen much to their excitement. Almost all of the regular staff was busy working like there had been no storm — another reason that the Emmanuel staff is one of a kind. Supervisors Raby Diallo and Kelly Jean Louis came in early to get lunch and dinner ready, so that the managers who’d been there the previous long day could go home and rest!

For Bon Appétit at Emmanuel, there’s  never a challenge so great this team can’t overcome together. The students are their priority, and as long as they’re safe and happy, then whatever it takes is all worth it in the end.

Submitted by Catherine Corbo, Dining Room Manager


MIT Hearts Bon Appétit for Snowy Valentine’s Dinner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chef/Manager Brian McCarthy and his team were excited about the VIP Valentine’s Day dinner they’d planned for Simmons Hall in Cambridge, MA. Then came the huge snowstorm, turning the residence hall into “Mount Simmons” (see photo in header). Simmons Hall House Masters John and Ellen Essegmann and Brian decided to open up the VIP dinner to the whole residence hall, increasing the numbers by more than 100. Despite the shortage of staff and food, the meal was a big hit with the snowbound students, and John and Ellen posted a nice thank-you note on the “Simmons Display” in the dining hall, below.

Submitted by Brian McCarthy, Chef/Manager

vday_mit_thank you display

An electronic thank-you from Simmons Hall guests


Bon Appétit Doors Remain Open on Thinner Tuesday at St. Mary’s College 

Mardi Gras didn’t feel so celebratory in St. Mary’s City, MD, where St. Mary’s College had to close that day due to more than 8 inches of snow. But the Bon Appétit team made sure that students still had delicious warm food for their catch-up studies or day off, so they still felt taken care of and could have a Fat Tuesday with full bellies. “We really appreciate you coming in today! Thanks so much!” said one comment card, signed “All SMCM Students,” echoed by several others.

Submitted by David Sansotta, General Manager