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Go behind the scenes in Pacific’s kitchens 

The Pacific Marketplace in the DeRosa University Center (DUC) serves students over 5,000 meals a day. University of the Pacific’s food service partner, Bon Appétit, has a kitchen staff that works hard behind the scenes to deliver high-quality meals at that volume If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the DUC kitchen, here is a behind-the-scenes look.  

Sia Mohsenzadegan has been running a tight ship at the Pacific Marketplace as Bon Appétit’s resident district manager for 21 years. He oversees all the menus, staffing and production for food at Pacific’s Stockton and Sacramento campuses. Every week he meets with each chef to create a new menu based on what is in demand and seasonably available. 

“Produce comes six days a week, so they need to know ahead of time how much to order,”  Mohsenzadegan said.  

Once the menu has been finalized, it’s posted online so that students can see the current day’s specials. 

Pacific’s kitchen staff

There are 113 kitchen staff and 65 students working in the Marketplace, the Lair and the River Room at the DUC and Pacific’s convenience store, the Grove.  

Workers are likely preparing your meals even before you even wake up. If you think 8 a.m. classes are too early, you may appreciate Pacific’s baking staff who arrive at the Marketplace at 2 a.m. to bake muffins, cakes and cookies for the day. The breakfast crew shows up at 4 a.m. to begin preparation for 7 a.m. service. The lunch crew arrives at 6 a.m. to prepare for the 11 a.m. service. Finally, the dinner crew arrives at noon for 4 p.m. service.  

Meal options

Pacific makes a conscious effort to provide a wide variety of meal options for Pacific’s multicultural campus. 

“With the exception of the premade chicken tenders, all the chicken we buy for campus is halal,”  Mohsenzadegan said.  

Each meal comes with its own set of stations. At breakfast you can choose from the fast burrito line, the omelet and the pancake lines. Lunch and dinner provide vegan options at the Cashmere Trail, which is a brand-new station. There is also Banchan serving Korean cuisine, Pomodoro serving pasta dishes, the Latin flavors station and the smokehouse, which serves grilled meats.  

Pacific’s focus on sustainable dining

Pacific also gears its operations toward sustainability. 

“Utensils are all compostable, and in the kitchen we have two separate areas for trash,”  Mohsenzadegan explained. “We separate the cardboard and everything else is picked up by the suitability company. They find out how much we save from going in the landfill.” 

Pacific also provides compostable straws and reusable to-go boxes to reduce the amount of cardboard and plastics that go in the trash.  

Student-created meals

While the kitchen staff handles most of the menus, students can email suggestions to   Mohsenzadegan. If the staff is interested in an idea, first they’ll make sure they can cook it for 100 to 130 people per meal. In some cases, they even invite students to the kitchen and let them help produce the meal as a team.  

Learn more about Pacific’s dining options 


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