The bakery in the basement

Where the meals come from

The basement bakery beneath the Commons dining room may seem like a world of its own, but it’s actually part of a vast system that provides food across campus, including nearly 14,000 meals a day to Yale undergraduates alone.

“People think we just flip burgers, but we really are a large-scale food operation,” says Cathy Van Dyke ’86MPPM, director of residential dining at Yale.

Those 14,000 meals are cooked in the kitchen at Commons and in ten residential college kitchens. (Morse and Stiles share a kitchen, and so do Branford and Saybrook.) There’s more: Yale Dining also provides meals at the Hall of Graduate Studies, the Divinity School, and the School of Medicine. They run six campus cafés, including one in Bass Library, and operate two “grab-and-go” food shops, most famously Durfee’s, on Elm Street. Yale Dining also caters special events. The 500 employees who do all this work are represented by Local 35 of the Federation of University Employees. Their boss, executive director Rafi Taherian, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.

The seven members of the bakery crew are scheduled to take their operation this winter to Winchester Avenue, in Science Park. Although head baker Keri Logan looks forward to new ovens, leaving the central campus will be “bittersweet,” she says. “We won’t be able to see the familiar faces we’ve seen for so long. It’s going to be hard to be part of the dining service family, so far away.”

The move is tentatively planned for December or January. Logan says, “When they take the Hobarts [the mixers] for relocation, that’s the day we’ll know we’re finally ready to go.”—C.S.

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