Our summer student Liz, is a Ridley Graduate and just so happens to be a vegetarian. Liz shares her thoughts on Ridley food for you in this blog post:
It can be a challenge to make healthy food choices without sacrificing tasty student staples. This can be further complicated with things like food allergies and other dietary restrictions. That said, as a vegetarian and former Ridley student, I know that Great Hall offers something for everyone.
Chartwells is Ridley’s food service provider, and their team works with the Ridley community by fueling students and staff to perform at their best and encouraging healthy choices. Chartwells will often post information throughout the dining hall about things like sustainable food sourcing to explain how the elements of wellness, environment, supply chain, and the community are interconnected. Ridley has also hosted guest nutritionists and chefs like Corbin Tomaszeski from the Food Network for presentations on healthy eating to staff and students.
Diners can access the daily menu through the Ridley website by clicking here. The daily menu will include options in both the Upper and Lower School dining halls (William’s Hall is where Lower School students go to eat). Menu options are also posted directly outside the Great Hall for students and staff to check during the academic day. There’s always excitement in the air when the menu features a student favourite – especially when it’s chicken parm. Every lunch and dinner will feature both a hot regular and vegetarian meal option. For example, one day’s meal menu in the Upper School might look something like this:
- Farm-fresh eggs, fried or boiled
- Waffles with berries and syrup
- Shepherd’s pie
- Roast potatoes
- Vegetable of the day
- Cheese-stuffed tortellini with creamy wild mushroom sauce
- Sticky rice
- Dessert: fresh, seasonal fruit
- Teriyaki chicken
- Thai fried rice
- Vegan strips with pasta
- Vegetarian pad thai
- Sticky rice
- Dessert: brownies
In addition to the hot option, there’s also a fully-stocked sandwich bar, salad bar, toaster station, and two soup/stew options (standard and vegetarian/vegan) available at lunch and dinner. For breakfast, there is always oatmeal, yogurt, cereals, fruit, and toast. Throughout the day, Ridley staff and students can grab a coffee or tea from a station at the back of the Great Hall, and snacks like fruit and granola bars are available at morning break and in the afternoon once classes have finished.
At the sandwich and salad bars, toppings tend to rotate through the week so there’s always variety. These options can be more easily customized, making them a great choice for vegetarians or diners with other dietary restrictions. Some students and staff are especially talented when it comes to making inventive and delicious salads, sandwiches, or wraps. A big salad with lots of toppings (and Paula’s amazing hummus!) was my go-to lunch as a Ridley student.
Even as a day student, I usually ate three meals a day on campus. I would arrive at school early, in good time for breakfast, and would have dinner before evening study and activities. Students are usually hungry after a late afternoon sports practice, robotics session or dramatic rehearsal anyway, so it makes sense to grab dinner in the Great Hall.
Students and visitors will often remark that Ridley and especially the Great Hall feels a lot like Hogwarts, the school of magic from Harry Potter. It probably has something to do with the lofty ceilings, school uniforms, and hanging portraits of past Headmasters and Board Chairs. In any case, the Great Hall is a central location for the Ridley and is an excellent place to enjoy a meal, snack or conversation with friends.