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March 21, 2007

POD Cast for Mid-April Launch

Pantry — as in the walk-in variety dreamed about by many prospective and current home owners — has taken on a new dimension within Ohio Wesleyan’s most recent dining opportunity in Smith Hall.

This exciting culinary addition, called Pulse on Dining featuring “My Pantry,” a dining experience you walk up to, is designed to look like our kitchens at home, explains Gene Castelli, senior director of dining services.

“This signature area features a middle island, complete with a chef who will make a special dish each day,” says Castelli. Students can either make their own meals (thus the pantry accoutrements) or ask the chef to do so.

Set to open on April 15, Pulse on Dining (POD for short) is the Smith Dining Hall’s $1 million renovation project created by and paid for in part by Chartwells Dining Services. Designed with today’s students in mind, the café-like atmosphere will be accentuated by plasma TVs and comfortably soft seating with many couches and chairs that face each other, creating the ambiance of a friendly, social gathering place.

You want pizza? You’ll be in the right place, with a brick-fired pizza oven situated out in the dining area. Continuing stations in Smith featuring sandwiches, all you can eat, vegetarian/balanced choice, and grilled food remain, providing variety for all palates.

“I feel the changes we are making at Smith are better for the students,” says Steve Ishmael, OWU’s executive chef. “We will have new technology for menu displays and other events scheduled in Smith. The new cooked-to-order stations will result in more interaction with our students, and yet, they still will be able to get the same comfort foods they have enjoyed in the past.” It’s all about food variety, taste, and comfort, with some good humor tossed in along the way.

“Our students today are definitely more technology-oriented, and their food palates are more educated when they come here,” says Castelli, noting that authenticity of world cuisines is recognized and appreciated by students. “We’ve also tried to put some fun into their dining experiences.”

Pam Besel