Executive Chef resigns from Sodexo Cal Lutheran

Isabella Breda and Jasmine Estrada

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With the excitement of the new The Habit Burger Grill arriving on campus last fall, some students said they are unaware of other changes in Sodexo’s operations at California Lutheran University. 

“For senate you have to start different projects, mine was to start the [Student] Culinary Council,” sophomore Tacie Johnson said.“The chefs would come in, they’d show us students new dining options that they wanted to present, and any critiques we had or had heard from other students…but recently I never saw any schedules for the Student [Culinary] Council anymore—I don’t know if it just left or what.”

During the Nov. 25, 2019 Associated Students of California Lutheran University Senate meeting, Clinton Oie, director of auxiliaries, said Sodexo hired a new executive chef. 

“He is wonderful and I hope you have seen some changes and differences with him,” Oie said.

According to Patricia Yantzer, general manager at Sodexo Cal Lutheran, Executive Chef Bruce Culbreth has resigned. ASCLU President John Basmajian said he had met the chef on a few occasions, but was unaware of his resignation. 

Both Yantzer and Culbreth declined to comment on the circumstances.

A job listing for executive chef at Sodexo Cal Lutheran is still posted. 

“[In the Student Culinary Council] we just kept encouraging them to try to get the food to be better, which we heard was working,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said that when she came back for the fall semester, things started going downhill.

“Food had gone back to being bland, they had taken back the vegetarian options—I don’t know if they got a new chef at that point, but my friends and I have started to avoid going to the dining hall,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, upperclassmen such as Viviana Galvez, a junior at Cal Lutheran said she was unaware of a different Sodexo program.

“I had no idea that I was able to donate swipes,” Galvez said. “There have been occasions when the end of the semester is approaching and I still have all these swipes that I need to get rid of.”

Arielle Labilles, marketing coordinator for Sodexo on campus, is promoting Swipe Out Hunger, a program working to decrease the amount of food insecurity amongst college students. According to Labilles, the program “has always been around.” 

When she started her job in October, however, she said she was told that many students were unaware of the ability to donate meal swipes.

“I’m the field marketing coordinator and my job is to help open up the communication between Sodexo and the students,” Labilles said. 

Labilles said Sodexo is planning on promoting their Instagram to the students to increase communication with students.

“We are figuring out which places to table, to set up, we have held a giveaway on our Instagram, most people check their phone instead of stopping by a table,” Labilles said. “But our efforts especially for spring, they are in full gear.”