Dietetics students prepare meals at the Pendulum Court Cafe 

Students and faculty sit at tables to eat lunch by the pendulum in the Eyring Science Center at BYU. The Pendulum Court Cafe is a lab run by dietetics students that serves lunch to anyone on campus Monday-Thursday. (Robyn Christensen)

BYU dietetics students cook and serve lunch to students and faculty at the Pendulum Court Cafe in the Eyring Science Center.

The dietetics program at BYU offers a hands-on experience for students to experience what it is like to prepare and serve meals Monday-Thursday in a cafeteria-style cafe, according to the Pendulum Court Cafe website.

Julie Duncan, a professor at BYU in charge of the cafe, said it was founded in 1962 and called the Elizabethan Dining Room in the Smith Family Living Center before moving to the ESC in 1998.

Students start lining up for lunch nearly and hour before the cafe opens and continue to visit until it closes at 1:10 p.m. The line wraps around the open entryway of the ESC, all the way to the cafe’s namesake, a 42-foot Foucault pendulum that swings in the center of the room.

Tara McCormick, a dietetics intern and manager of the Pendulum Court Cafe described the process of arriving at 9:00 a.m. every morning to start the same-day service items and prep for the following day.

“We’re on a three-week cycle menu, and so we have three weeks’ worth of menu items that we just cycle through for the duration of the semester,” she said. Some items on the menu have been served for years and will remain as long as people continue to enjoy them, according to McCormick.

The menu for the Pendulum Court Cafe offers different feature attractions each day of the week. The Pendulum Court Cafe is a lab run by dietetics students and serves individuals on BYU campus. (Robyn Christensen)

BYU student Bethany Hurt said the fact she knows the students are making the food right then and there makes it feel personal.

“Going to the Cougareat feels like I’m not actually getting anything out of it because it’s all fast food,” Hurt said. “But coming here, they’re nutrition students so I know they’re prioritizing our health so I feel good eating here and the prices are great for the quality of food you’re getting.”

Students in the lab cook the meals the same day as they are served and offer a variety of options, including a main attraction, soup, fresh fare and everyday variations of bread and scones. Duncan said the cafe serves 150-200 people everyday.

Camille Eddington, a student in the dietetics program working the cafe class said, “It’s kind of a steep learning curve if you haven’t worked in food science before, but it’s really fun and we make really good food.”

Eddington said it is cool to be able to get a chance to work at every station in the cafe, including the main course, salads, soups, desserts and financial responsibilities at the cash register. Eddington said she feels as though the dietetics program has prepared her for her future career, which is pursing clinical dietetics post graduation.

The cafe is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. and Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.

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