The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Upper School Reaction to Brock Food Company


Within the first few weeks of school, upper school students and faculty began to find issues with the new catering company Brock & CO.  Late last year, former Upper School Principal, Mr. Markus announced to the upper school that WIS would undergo a change in food vendors due to pizza day conflicting with their schedule though pizza day ultimately ended. At the time, students were concerned with the removal of pizza day however since the start of this school year that sentiment has clearly changed. 

Senior Phoebe Conway was part of a group of students from all campuses and faculty who tried the contending new food vendors. There were three possible food companies all of which had their own station, where they had to make a Chinese dish, an Italian dish, and a dish of their choosing. Students and faculty went to each station trying foodand then commenting and rating each vendor.  Conway said there was a common agreement with those she talked to that they preferred Sodexo. Sodexo had been WIS’s food vendor prior, but the new vendor would have been a different version of Sodexo. 

Conway doesn’t remember strongly disliking Brock’s food but doesn’t think it was memorable. “I don’t personally think the food right now is awful, but I think it’s a downgrade from what we were getting before,” Conway said.

Many others agree with Conway that the food is a downgrade. Senior Julia Stefanska claims she possibly contracted food poisoning from eating beef stroganoff on the third day of school. 

Story continues below advertisement

“I had a tennis match, well the game was cancelled that day, but I remember feeling like really sick and just like nauseous and thought I was going to throw up,” Stefanska said, describing how she felt after eating lunch from Brock. “And I remember thinking like oh like thank god it got cancelled because I’m not feeling my best.”

Stefanska returned home and could not bring herself to do her homework, and she had trouble sleeping as well. The next day, she slept in and only came for sixth period. Junior Maia Swamy also claimed she might have gotten food poisoning and couldn’t think of a cause besides the new school food. 

Swamy said she was experiencing “really abnormal stomach stuff…I’ve never really felt like that before unless I was sick,” Swamy said about what made her think she had potentially gotten food poisoning, “I knew I immediately missed the old food.”

However, not everyone thinks the quality of the food has gone down. Sophomore Patrick Bousquet was very enthusiastic in exclaiming that he thinks that the food is better than what we were receiving last year and that he likes what the chef is doing. 

“They have a chef now. Like this guy’s good. There’s some talent in the kitchen,” Bousquet said. He then explained that “every single day [he’s] had it and every single day [he] thought it was good.”

Science teacher Mr. Godwin agrees with Bousquet that the quality of the food has gotten better, but not to the same extent. Bousquet had no real complaints, whereas Mr. Godwin and other members of the science department, like Mrs. Beck were angered by the use of plastic at the salad bar, a byproduct of the new catering company.

“They used to have a compostable bowl last year…but these in order to recycle them you have to wash them. How many students do you think rinse them out?” explained Mrs. Beck, highlighting the environmental risk. 

Not only are these members of the science department angered by the use of plastic containers, they are also upset about having to weigh your salad for pricing. Last year there was a flat rate for a small bowl and a large bowl allowing the faculty to bring their own environmentally friendly ceramic bowls. However, now that the price is dictated by weight, it is much more costly to bring ceramic bowls. 

“Before I used to spend three dollars on my salad but now I’ve been spending about six,” Godwin said. “But, arguably for a better salad.”

Godwin is not the only person frustrated by the pricing. Many students are upset about it as well, and they claim that the quantity of food you get doesn’t match the price. 

Swamy expressed her annoyance with this when she said that the food was “so overpriced” as she paid two dollars extra for the addition of carrots. 

Others complained they had to pay six dollars for a sandwich. Sophomore Dominic Torres said he felt awful about paying eight dollars for two slices of pizza and a Gatorade. On pizza day, it would typically cost four dollars for the same pizza Brock served. 

“Brock was planning to do their homemade pizza that day but with our current kitchen constraints they couldn’t make their dough in the back of the kitchen,” explained Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Neumann. She also explained that the entree came with a salad, but not all students opted to get it. 

Moreover, several athletes have complained about the amount of food you receive is not sufficient to hold you over until practice. Stefanska said that she knows that athletes are constantly buying more food from the IB cafe and continue to eat out everyday so they don’t get hungry. 

Sophomore Elise Naftulin who’s a dedicated member of the cross-country team agreed with Stefanska; “six dollars is supposed to sustain you through the day,” said Naftulin “but by cross-country I was starving.”

In addition, 11th and 12th grade IB students are frustrated with the changes made to the IB cafe. Not only was Freh Ashina, one of two Frehs working in the cafe last year, let go because she was with Sodexo, but Conway and Stefanska claimed that the variety of goods offered at the cafe has decreased. That being said, Brock has installed new fridges that hold prepackaged food like salad and fruit cups. There is a smaller variety of fruit cups and freshly baked goods, and the smoothies are no longer made with fresh ingredients.

“It’s almost like a ritual. You would go into Davies and you would just smell the cookies or the chocolate croissants or muffins that are freshly made right there in the morning by Freh,” Stefanska explained. “She would make it [smoothies] right in front of you. It does make her job easier which is what I appreciate because she did seem like when it was rush hour for coffee she did seem like pretty stressed, but the smoothies aren’t the same and there’s no options.”

In addition to the change of food vendors, the payment system has also changed. Ms. Neumann said that it was not a change with Brock but a decision made by WIS administrators. They wanted to speed up lines and make funding more convenient for parents. However, people are still somewhat angry about not being able to use cash. 

“I’m annoyed that they’re not using the cash anymore. Cash is still a relevant payment system,” Conway said. However, Neuman explained they aren’t thinking of using cash at the moment, and it is unlikely there will be in the future. 

The pizza day line was seen as being lengthy. According to Ms. Neumann, the square touch screen at the cash registers, which required a signature, slowed down the line, so they therefore will no longer use it. 

Ms. Neumann said that the WIS business office continues to meet with Brock to ensure that students’ feedback is heard, and students like Conway and Stefanska are looking to see future changes for Brock.

“I’m not saying fire Brock. I feel bad because I see the people in the kitchen working hard making fresh meals so [the food] is coming straight from a good place that they want us to be healthy and have access to good food,” said Stefanska but, “there could be a lot of improvements.” 

By Rose Boehm

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *