June 4, 2023

Behind the scenes of food services

Northampton chefs Char Hartley and Cindy Litzenberger are always willing to hear suggestions from students about what the food service should serve at the Main, Monroe and Fowler Southside campuses.

“Once a month, the food committee holds a meeting and gives suggestions of what they think of serving, passing information to students,” Hartley said.

“They receive feedback from students on what they want the food court to serve.” Not many students attend the meetings, he said. Sometimes only one or two students attend. Even if students can’t make the meeting, they come find me and make suggestions.”

The food service operates the food court in the cafeteria on the Main, Monroe, and Fowler Southside campuses on weekdays, while the snack bar in the Residence Hall is open daily.

About 30 food service employees work on each campus, half of whom work full time.

“Sodexo, the company I work for, provides suggestions, pictures and signs of what to serve, Hartley said. “Every day there is a new food special on the grill, deli and top hits, located in the cafeteria on the Main Campus.”

Every week features new specials that run every day. “For example, we could sell a California cheesesteak throughout the weekdays, then sell a triple cheeseburger the following week,” Hartley said.

The food service provides new food products weekly to students at the food court.

“There is an ‘Enjoy Program’ where we make suggestions of what to serve,” Hartley said. “This includes Grilled Lemon Chicken, Panko Crusted Chicken, Sliced Turkey Ricotta, and Maple Glazed Roast Pork.”

“Among the most popular food items are burgers, chicken fingers, soup, and pizza including the Chicken Caesar Chabreti,” Hartley said.

Hartley also is open to complaints. “If someone didn’t care for the soup because it was too cold or salty, I would be happy to go back and fix it in order to make it better,” he said.

The food court remains busy on a weekly basis. “Last week we served 10,000 meals which is normal,” Hartley said.

Deli Bar offers Southwest Turkey Club throughout the week while 155 Grill offers Southwest Chicken Baguette.

Dinner is served Mondays through Thursdays in the cafeteria of the Main, Monroe and Fowler Southside campuses.

The food court closes early on Fridays at 2:30 p.m., so no dinners are served on that day, but breakfast and lunch is served every weekday.

Hartley is the executive chef of food service and works on all three of the main campuses at NCC. He also supervises catering events about two or three times a day and sometimes as many as six to eight.

He is also a part-time instructor who teaches in the culinary program at the Gates Center on the North Campus in Bethlehem Township.

Cindy Litzenberger is the culinary program administrator for the program as well as the Hampton Winds Restaurant in Bethlehem.

She works full time on weekdays. Her job is to oversee the dining room and servers, sometimes she works at night during special events.

Litzenberger calls her job “A great working environment. It is a pleasure to work with the staff and students. Everybody treats each other with respect.”

“We work and get things done as a team,” Litzenberger said. It is not an ‘I’ effort where you work individually, it is a team effort.”

Litzenberger calls the culinary program a “great family environment. The students look at it as a family effort. The students help each other. We are here to help them succeed just like how we want our sons or daughters to succeed.”

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