Opening of Harvest at IFNH

By: Madison Molner

Harvest, a new restaurant at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health is looking to steer Rutgers students away from greasy, fat sandwiches toward healthier, fresher and more sustainable food options.

Launched in conjunction with the newly opened IFNH at 61 Dudley Road on the Cook Campus, Harvest’s mission is to explore nutritious dining options. With a menu developed by two classically trained chefs, Harvest at IFNH is opening students up to a world of cuisine not readily found on college campuses.

IFNH, which opened last month, is founded on the core values of academic research, community outreach and overall success, as stated on its website. Currently, the institute’s research focuses on understanding the scientific and social aspects of childhood obesity and digestive health.

“Overall, our mission is to make New Jersey the healthy state and a model for the nation,” said Dr. Peter Gillies, the founding director of IFNH. “We believe that now is the time, the institute is the place to build a culture of health in our society.”

Harvest at IFNH runs under the credo “eat well, live well,” which was developed by its chefs Rachel Ruben and Ian Keith. Rueben is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in NYC, a chef instructor, journalist and Food Network “Chopped Champion,” while Keith is, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and recipient of multiple culinary awards. Both chefs are looking to promote seasonal, healthy foods to help curb the obesity epidemic affecting local New Jersey residents.

“It (Harvest) is unique to Rutgers University,” said Joseph Charette, the executive director of Rutgers dining services. “Harvest is something that celebrates whole foods and everything that we make here is very good for you. The whole building smells like delicious food and it’s a place you’re not going to want to miss.”

Keeping the value of sustainable, fresh ingredients, Harvest at IFNH has a daily menu featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and non-GMO ingredients. Menu standbys include pizza, a Mongolian grill station, a smoothie and juice bar and a salad bar.

“It’s nice because its different, but I just wish it took meal swipes,” Christina Vecchio, a junior studying exercise science said. “I know I would definitely come back for the salad bar. The roasted vegetables and the smoothies were pretty good.”

Dining service’s sustainability campaign is also carried out through Harvest. Food is served in paper containers made from recycled materials. Juices are also served in Greenware cups from Fabri-Kal that are 100% compostable and made from plants, not petroleum.

Aside from Harvest, IFNH is attracting all kinds of students with its living-wall display. The wall in the main lobby of IFNH is the largest-living wall in New Jersey with over 6000 individual plants of 72 different species spanning 1300 square feet of wall space.

Harvest at IFNH is open Monday thru Friday. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch service. They accept RU Express, the credit card through Rutgers dining services on the New Brunswick campus, but do not except meal swipes that can be used in the Rutgers dining halls and at other cafes on campus.