Baldwin Dining Hall Food: Worth the Wait?

For Baldwin students, long lines are a small price to pay for delicious hot lunches.


Photography by Sophia Ran '23

Baldwin dining hall after upper school lunch.

After continually packing lunches during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Baldwin students were excited to finally buy and enjoy lunch with Culinart’s new dining experience. But students were surprised to find lines that snaked all the way out the door.

Chef Manager Mr. Robert Milam is relatively new to Baldwin dining, having joined during the fall of 2022. However, he has extensive experience across the food industry– expertise which is evident by the popularity of the meals served each day. 

According to Mr. Milam, the pandemic caused many challenges for the food industry. Some of these issues passed with the pandemic, while others are still ongoing. For instance, one consequence of the pandemic is continued culinary staffing shortages, which may contribute to the longer lines in the Dining Hall. 

Mr. Milam said, “The food industry… we were hit hard… We put restrictions on everything, so food suffers… Now that the lines are back open, the food is fresher.” 

Regardless of the increased struggles for cafeteria workers, they continue to do their best to maintain the quality of food at Baldwin. The staff begins preparing food at 6:00 a.m. every morning, and, as Mr. Milam said, they would “rather you wait five minutes for good quality [food],” as opposed to lower quality food being served right away.

While the lines might be an inconvenience, the quality of the food and the care put into its preparation by the Dining Hall employees makes up for the wait. 

Megan Adelman ‘23 has been buying lunch from the cafeteria every day since she was in lower school. Adelman said, “The line has gotten longer over the years and can be inconvenient, but I don’t have a problem with it.” 

Even students who pack lunch do so for reasons that aren’t related to the quality of the food; it is just a personal preference. Violet Paiva ‘23 said she just “finds packing [her] own lunch easier and more efficient than buying from the cafeteria.” 

While the dining experience may have undergone changes after 2020, Baldwin and the Dining Hall staff take pride in the food served. Mr. Milam explained that the staff eats the food they make, saying, “We all eat lunch here… I’m proud of the food we put out, I’m proud of everybody here, the quality we put out.” 

The longer lines in the Dining Hall post-pandemic may take a few minutes from students’ lunch period, but the consensus is that Culinart is worth the wait.