Café 3 debuts ‘Hall for All’ food station aimed at improving inclusivity

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When Café 3 opened its doors last week, Cal Dining unveiled a new menu and food station designed to accommodate Kosher, halal and vegetarian diets. Through food, the campus and Cal Dining hope to satisfy the campus’s hunger for inclusivity and sustainability.

The new station, called “Hall for All,” is the first certified Kosher food kiosk in the UC system and features an increased ratio of plant-based foods to animal products, which also impacts Muslim students with halal diets. As part of the changes, Café 3 will no longer serve pork or shellfish.

It will offer meals with selections of pita, falafel and pickled vegetables as well as Kosher-certified meat, according to campus spokesperson Carole Love. The campus hopes the Kosher and halal section will help bring diverse student groups at UC Berkeley closer together through food.

Students such as Josh Woznica, campus senior and president of the Jewish Student Union, believe the new station is a step in the right direction toward inclusivity on campus. Woznica kept Kosher with his family in high school but chose to follow the tradition less strictly as a freshman in Unit 2 because the dining halls offered limited Kosher meat options.

“I really think this is going to have a strong impact on current students and potential students,” he said. “Now we have a place where everyone feels welcome and where everyone can go.”

The architect behind the changes, Cal Dining’s executive director Shawn LaPean, said the project was a challenge to complete in just a few months with budget pressures facing the campus but that he is “pleased as heck” with the result.

LaPean proposed the idea in April 2015 and worked closely with the Residence Hall Assembly, student groups and individuals in Jewish and Muslim communities on campus, as well as vegans and vegetarians, to build a menu that best suits those diets.

Campus sophomore Sophia Gluck said she has friends who chose to live in apartments as freshmen rather than campus housing because there were not enough Kosher options included in the mandatory meal plan. She added that she would support seeing those options elsewhere on campus, such as at Golden Bear Café and Brown’s.

But the changes will likely remain unique to Café 3, LaPean said, while Cal Dining tries to maintain the special flavor of different cafés and dining halls across the campus. He added that students hungry for pork and shellfish can still look to Crossroads.

“Whether students have allergies, eat Kosher, eat halal, eat vegetarian, eat vegan, if they are omnivores — we don’t want your diet to be something that would keep you from eating with us,” he said.

Maya Eliahou covers student life. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MayaEliahou.