TERRACE – When Kerry Clarke, Northwest Community College’s (NWCC) Director of Food Services, took over the operations of the college cafeteria in January 2010, he vowed to transform the menu by offering healthier choices and to generate some buzz with new and exciting tastes. It’s safe to say the latest additions to the cafeteria menu have done just that — and the reviews are glowing.
Since January, new to the menu at NWCC’s Terrace Campus cafeteria are the ahi tuna clubhouse, the bison burger and the camel burger. That’s right, the camel burger. Curious eaters have made it a surprise hit, says Clarke.
“While some people have trouble wrapping their heads around a meat they’ve never tasted before, others have no such constraints about trying something new, exciting and exotic,” says Clarke. “The new burgers have become quite popular and we see this as a way to introduce new foods while still serving burgers. I’m confident that once the novelty of these new burgers fades, diners will keep coming back because of the taste and quality.”
Clarke says it’s important to introduce different menu items at the cafeteria, to give customers what he calls a world view of their food, adding meat such as camel is as routine as beef is to North American consumers in other parts of the world.
While these are changes that have been embraced by those who frequent the cafeteria, at the forefront of all menu changes, maintains Clarke, is a continued push to promote healthy eating. The new burgers are served with a tossed salad as standard, though French fries are still on the menu. The new meats are leaner than beef, high in protein and have almost no cholesterol.
“Camel is very lean – somewhere between a beef and a venison,” said Clarke, adding he’s heard a number of different comparisons. “Of course, we use our own secret blend of spices.”
Not content to stay idle, a trio of new burgers is destined soon for the Terrace NWCC cafeteria: Arctic muskox, kangaroo and boar. All meats come from a supplier in the Lower Mainland, which Clarke says sources only wild game.
“We’re never going to get rid of burgers at a college campus cafeteria,” adds Clarke. “But we feel we’re introducing people to food they won’t find anywhere else and we’re open to the public.”
The camel and bison burgers sell for $9.50 each, while the ahi tuna clubhouse is $12.50 – all served with a side salad. The cafeteria is located in Waap Haawk at the NWCC Terrace Campus and is open Monday to Friday from
7:30 am. to 6 p.m.
Photo: NWCC chefs Erbert Operana, left, and Rob Stach with the new tastes at the college’s Terrace Campus cafeteria; left to right, that’s the camel burger, ahi tuna clubhouse and bison burger.