Recently students may have noticed an increase in the variety of items offered in the vegetarian section of the COG, along with the black refrigerator commonly deemed "the soymilk fridge."

The refrigerator, which previously was filled with soymilk and a few other gluten-free options, now contains rice milk, almond milk and various gluten-free and vegan choices. The vegetarian section now has delicious made-to-order meals prepared by a cook.

Thomas Morisette, the executive chef for Sodexo, came to Gonzaga in November and said that since then he has been implementing various changes throughout the COG.

"There was a lot of concern (with food options) and it was something I wanted to address immediately," Morisette said.

Previously, the vegetarian section had commonly offered pasta and the amount of items in the refrigerator often fluctuated. Morisette said that he wants students to get used to the idea that the refrigerator will always be filled with a variety of items, while the vegetarian section will continue to offer different options.

"I want students to get used to the standard that they know these products will always be here," Morisette said.

Sophomore Alex Wendland is lactose intolerant, and the variety of products the COG is now offering is a nice change. Wendland said she loves that there are different types of dairy-free products being offered.

"It's really helpful and I like that they have both soy and rice milk now," Wendland said.

Sheila Canavan, president of the Residence Hall Association, said she previously had difficulties eating in the COG as a vegan. However, at the beginning of spring semester, Canavan said she personally spoke with Morisette about the COG offering more items for students with special dietary needs.

"(Morisette) is really trying to help make the Marketplace cater to everyone's needs," Canavan said.

Though Canavan said she especially wanted to create more options for vegans and vegetarians, she said her overall goal was to help students, like herself, who previously had trouble finding options and had to resort to unhealthy options.

"I just felt disgusting, my body was always hurting trying to digest food that wasn't good for it," Canavan said.

However, students with special dietary needs will no longer feel the need to resort to unhealthy options. Both Morisette and Canavan emphasized the importance of asking employees about different options, even if they are not currently being served.

"There are always options available for vegans and vegetarians, and gluten intolerant eaters, sometimes you just need to ask a few different people behind the counter," Canavan said.

Along with having gluten-free nuggets and pizza that can be served on request, Morisette said gluten-free students can expect even more changes.

"We're gonna bring in a lot of the Thai kitchen noodles, that are all gluten free as well and we're gonna have them at the pasta station to order."

Vegetarians who want to take a break from the vegetarian section can always look forward to Mondays, which have been deemed Meatless Mondays, when the COG goes meat-free for the night.

 "I think a lot of the vegetarian people are quite pleased with Mondays," Canavan said.

Morisette wanted to encourage all students with a request to fill out a comment card.  "I read all the comment cards and will get back to students if they put their e-mail addresses on it," Morisette said.

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