Delicious Without: A Revamp for SoVi’s Allergen-Free Station


Abigail Muth

The Delicious Without station keeps three staple go-to foods on their menu. This includes rice, vegetables, and a meat option.

Abigail Muth, Staff Writer

FGCU’s SoVi Dining Services aims to make each student feel safe and included while choosing meals in their facilities on campus. 

10 serves as part of Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services. SoVi runs on a 16 week menu cycle provided and vetted by Chartwells’ dietitians. 

“We have to stick to the strict recipe that we get from [Chartwells]. They have already tested it, put it to practice and sent it to us and we put it into the works,” Campus Executive Chef David Lopez, said.

The allergen free section used to be called “G8” when Chartwells had a list of eight major allergens. When they added sesame to the list, it was no longer eight allergens and SoVi Dining decided the allergen-free station needed an overall tune-up. 

“We’ve added things throughout and we’ve tried to elevate the ‘Delicious Without’ program in general across the board,” Resident District Manager of FGCU Dining Services Tara Scrivano said.

At the “Delicious Without” station, they consistently have brown and/or white rice, an allergen free vegetable and beans. They also have a protein or meat option available. This station also has a new exclusively gluten free waffle iron. 

“One of the things we’ve added to the menu are these staple go-tos,” Scrivano said. “This is something Chef Mike introduced three or four years ago and it’s been really popular because they know they can have rice and vegetables and they can build their plate off of that.” 

Students are encouraged to ask a supervisor or manager what they can and cannot eat at each station. These staff members would be the ones that know exactly what goes into each dish on the line. However, temporary employees and student workers may not have the correct information, so it’s encouraged to ask for a supervisor. 

“We encourage anyone who has an allergy to come and see one of us. Then we usually take them around to see what their options are,” Director of SoVi Dining Chef Michael “Mike” Kerzetski said.

Ynocencia Mendez preparing food for the salad station. Mendez is a lead cook for SoVi dining and has been with the university for over 10 years. (Abigail Muth)

SoVi Dining tries to encourage students not to be shy so they are able to identify what their allergies are and ask for help. 

“If anyone has a question we encourage them to please ask. We will absolutely find out. All of our cooks within SoVi go through allergen training, two different kinds of training on allergens once a year. That is something we make sure to keep up on. It’s an important part of our business,” Scrivano said. “It’s up to the customer to make the right decision.” 

The “Delicious Without” station is not the only option for students with allergies. When asked, chefs at almost every station have an allergy-friendly option. 

Gluten and dairy free pizzas can be made upon request. Staff know to use non-contaminated utensils, gloves and workspaces when they receive this request. The burger bar has gluten free buns, wraps and bread. SoVi Dining makes the effort to keep all of the allergen-free substitutes in their original packaging when possible to assure students of what they are eating. 

The burger bar also offers grilled chicken, turkey burgers and veggie burgers for vegan or red-meat avoiding students. 

“There are a lot of options for students. A lot of students will get a salad and go to the grill and put grilled chicken on it, or get a gluten free waffle and put ice cream on it.” Kerzetski said.  “There are options to take food from one station and add to it from another.” 

SoVi Dining uses “PID’s” or food identifiers on the menu cards in front of their meals on the hot lines. These are small icons next to each menu to show whether they are vegan, vegetarian or “well-balanced.” This helps students identify the types of food they are looking for with a quick glance. 

Students can find more information about SoVi Dining’s allergen guide online.