I didn’t try West Union until my sophomore year. I respectfully ate all of my Marketplace swipes for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, I salvaged peanut butter and jelly from Marketplace in the mornings and put it together in my Basset triple in the afternoons. I was happy. I enjoy food, and even though I turned away when the Marketplace workers poured Egg mix onto their omelette pans, I never complained.
Sophomore year, I ate West Union with joy. We didn’t even have Sazón. JB’s, Tandoor, Sprout, ABP, Gyotaku, and especially the place upstairs lorded over Marketplace in quality and presentation of food. After a year of dry chicken, hummus, and peanut butter and jelly, I felt like a king, and the well-balanced meals I was then eating made me consider my body to be a respectable throne room. Understandably, never have I felt more disrespected than when Sami Kirkpatrick came to my palace and spat his article about JB’s Salmon onto the ground.
Years of construction went into West Union and with it years of thought: in carefully selecting the restaurants, menus and food that students would be eating for years to come. Feeding thousands of people every day with differences of background, dietary restrictions, and eating preferences is a careful dance. They have to meet those needs as well as provide options that satisfy the nutritional requirements of college students that would often prefer to eat ramen or mac and cheese in their rooms than go out and spend money on an egg sandwich. Incidentally, one of those nutritional requirements is fish.
Fish provides essential Omega-3's and other vitamins that help power our brains as well as keep us healthy. Unfortunately, fish is also extremely hard to handle. Fish spoils quickly and transporting the quality of fish that JB’s puts out is an even harder challenge. Shipments of fish are often made on Mondays, and I imagine Sami, who despite claiming to be a restaurant connoisseur, foolishly ordered fish on a Friday—when it is more likely to have spoiled.
Still, I am skeptical that Duke, the JB’s staff, and Jay Singletary (who was nominated as a Chron15 Icon) would be anything less than Gordon Ramsay levels of careful with their food. Noting that Sami’s report of food poisoning is extremely rare, I feel it may be nothing less than a coincidence poorly timed with perhaps a large order of Heavenly Buffalo’s to fill Sami’s appetite for destroying the reputation of campus dining.
Providing food for thousands of customers without a single complaint until this article is an exceptional challenge that Duke has handled phenomenally. On other college campuses, I’ve seen reports of grasshoppers in the salad, bugs in meat, and worse. Duke has displayed an amazing dining program that is overflowing with amazing options, like Chef’s Kitchen and Sazón and the perpetually changing second floor restaurant. I can only imagine that Sami wrote that article because the lack of Omega-3 in his diet has worn away at his judgment.
Maxwell Silverstein is a Trinity senior.