While students were on break this past January, the Parkhurst Dining team at Bard College was gearing up for the launch of the Clean Plate program, which will serve fresh, flavorful foods that are free of the top 9 most common food allergens. This new addition is coming to Kline Commons Dining Hall during the Spring 2022 semester.
“At Bard, we’ve received a lot of allergen-related requests and concerns,” says Tony Williams, Senior General Manager of Parkhurst Dining at Bard College. “With Clean Plate, we designed a self-contained facility that’s enclosed and separate from the dining hall, featuring purple plates to prevent the possibility of additional cross-contamination. Whatever is served will be prepared there, so there’s no opportunity for cross contamination, ensuring students their food is allergen-free.”
As part of its continued investment in the initiative, Parkhurst worked with AllerTrain, a company that specializes in allergen and gluten-free education, to certify the staff in allergen and gluten-free training and to empower them in the space and to be a resource for students. All 29 certificates are displayed on a wall in the dining hall in preparation for the Clean Plate station’s opening.
“We are excited about this new addition to our dining commons,” says Bethany Nohlgren, Dean of Students at Bard College, “and to continue to work with Parkhurst Dining to make sure all of the culinary needs of our students are met.”
Everyone from the executive and sous chefs to the hourly team members are AllerTrain certified, and the team is audited every month to make sure they are up to date on Clean Plate standards.
“We want people to be aware of the concerns students have,” says Williams. “Anyone who works in that station is familiar with the program and knows how to prepare delicious, safe food. We at Parkhurst heard what students are saying and we’re going to respond to it. It’s pretty exciting to give back to the community through food.”
The Clean Plate program also fulfills one of Parkhurst’s core values, which is “We care about people.”
“We heard and listened, and now we’re taking it a step further,” says Williams. We’re going to guarantee you won’t be exposed to the top 9 allergens within the Clean Plate station. We care about you. We care about your safety.”
In addition to Bard College, Parkhurst Dining offers certified Clean Plate stations in several client partner locations, with the goal of expanding this program throughout the year.