Pollock Halls Food Watch

pdeedy1
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Is it any good, what sort of stuff is usually available?
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arod
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Appalling is probably the best way to describe it....and I'm not particularly picky. This is institutional food at its worst. Weird point system for food.
It got tiresome pretty quickly. If you are a vegetarian there's not much available for you I'm not but friends on my floor were and they couldn't find much to eat. I've stayed in student residences before visiting other universities and their food was amazing - different stations where people cooked up fresh pasts, grilled meats, huge fresh veggie and salad bar - not to mention the smoothie bar!

Essentially we survived on ordering pizzas, and cooking in other people's places, and eating out alot at cheap Indian and Chinese places.
For some reason the kitchens in Chancellor's Ct have NO cooking facilities. I was really stupid and the first thing I did when I arrived in Edinburgh was buy myself pots/pans/dishes/cutlery etc. since I assumed that I'd need them to cook up meals after hours, weekends etc. and didn't want to bring them from overseas. I moved in the next day and discovered that although they have kitchens, there is only a tiny sink, a tiny fridge, no stove, no microwave, nothing to actually cook on! All we had was a broken kettle (and you're not supposed to have a kettle or grill in your room). Why would they build a student residence with a large kitchen and pantry but no cooking facilities?? Students eat all the time anytime.
Which is the other problem, with the meal plan the food is only available at certain times - so you have to actually plan for this to attend the meals. Probably the other reason we ate out alot - missed the actual meal time.
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Gavin175
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They don't have cooking facillities because it is not a kitchen, all catered premises are like that, they have a pantry where you can make sandwiches and stuff for your lunch but thats all you should really need.
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mattyboy96
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The food has been good when I've stayed at Pollock as a guest and from what I hear, the menus for guests during summer is the same as for students during term-time.

Just load your tray and stuff the points! That's what I say.
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michaelnicholson88
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Let's be fair about this. The food is average- there are some things which are nice, others which are not. It's institutional food, so you shouldn't go in expecting Michelin Star food. The food quality does deteriorate as the semester goes on (due to budgetary reasons I'm told) but a lot of that is also psychological- you get tired of having similar food every night and never having a say in what gets made. The points system works fine- you get soup and a pudding free every night and porridge and toast free in the morning, so it's easy to get a large meal for your points. And vegetarians are warned not to apply for Pollock as they cannot afford to cater for what remains a minority- would you expect all their meat to be halal? No? Then why should any other minority be treated differently.

Furthermore, every pantry does have a kettle, microwave and toaster, contrary to what has been written above. If any of these is absent, you speak to the Domestic Supervisor who will replace it that day.

People seem to go in with the impression that the food is going to be awful, and so invariably those who do find it just so. If you go in open-minded, you might just find that it's not too bad. If you need further persuading- I'm going back to Pollock for another year. If it had been that bad, would I really be inflicting another year of it upon myself.

And finally, I only had takeaway twice this year- both times because I arrived back at Pollock after 7:30pm when the kitchen closes.
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arod
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But why should we accept mediocre? or even average food for the price that we're paying when other uni's provide a far better food experience?
After first term group of us wrote to the accommodation dept. We researched other unis and provided them with examples of the excellent food services available at other universities complete with menus and contact information. If students don't provide some constructive feedback then nothing will change. I hope that we've improved the fare for the next wave of students coming through. It is possible to run excellent food services for a profit.
When rating UK uni's the English criteria doesn't seem to include accommodation and/or food in their ranking of Uni's. But they are rated in rankings in other parts of the world because it's such a key part of university life. Some students rank the degree program reputation and teaching first, with food and accommodation second. If those 2 categories are great, then everything else is just gravy (excuse the pun).
For the past 3 summers we've lived on university campuses on special programs for high school students plus in our final yr of school our guidance dept arranged for us to visits unis not only to visit the dept open day and sit in on lectures but actually stay overnight on the weekends and experience residence life. So we have at least 5 different uni residential food experiences to compare Edinburgh with, and I found Edi to be the bottom of the heap. Maybe it's a North American thing, but all of my friends are vegetarian and have been for some time, they weren't expecting gourmet veggie cuisine, but at least one menu item and the possibility of maybe cooking something in your kitchen on your floor. You now get vegetarian selections on airplanes and in most restaurants these days so it's not such an unusual request.

Also many other uni's that offer fully catered accommodation also have fully equipped kitchens so students can choose to cook if and when they want to. University students have lots of visitors either family and/or friends from overseas and/or from other cities in the UK etc on the weekends or during vacations (e.g. 3 week Easter holidays). It's so nice to be able to cook them a meal in your own place and maybe even invite others on the floor to join in especially for birthday celebrations etc. But you can't do this in Chancellor's Ct. because they don't want you to cook anything in the kitchens which I found very surprising when I moved in.

Sorry for the long winded message. I guess all I'm saying is that the food didn't meet my expectations and I've lived on freeze dried food on winter camping trips so I know bad food :-). I hope that our suggestions for improvement will at least get the university food services thinking about a few changes.
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Jack29
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(Original post by arod)
But why should we accept mediocre? or even average food for the price that we're paying when other uni's provide a far better food experience?
I agree with you in 100%
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lukeyboy
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because the food has nothing to do with accomodation price, it's central edinburgh. remember, location location location. yes of course in manchester (where i live) where city centre accom is proportionally a lot cheaper and even then all the catered halls are 15 mins on a bus the food can be better for less rent because the area is cheaper. it comes down to making a profit but also making the site a viable enterprise i.e, most businesses would sell the land or redevelop if they could make more money by doing so. thus the rent in a way has got to be high. its not ideal, its probably because its privatised to edinburgh first and not really part of the university.

yeah the food may be bad, or there may not be veg options (which it says when your applying, so you cant really complain) but its the social experience and location that mean more. or at least i think so.
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michaelnicholson88
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(Original post by arod)
But why should we accept mediocre? or even average food for the price that we're paying when other uni's provide a far better food experience?
The first thing you have to remember is that everything is subjective and often the grass seems greener on the other side. What you experienced at other universities may have been good for a few days- as Pollock food can be too- but if you lived there all year I expect you would get as tired of it as you did Pollock. That is simply the nature of being fed in an institution.

After first term group of us wrote to the accommodation dept. We researched other unis and provided them with examples of the excellent food services available at other universities complete with menus and contact information. If students don't provide some constructive feedback then nothing will change. I hope that we've improved the fare for the next wave of students coming through. It is possible to run excellent food services for a profit.
Fair enough. I would always encourage this and will myself be petitioning for change on this front later this year as I feel there is always room for improvement.

When rating UK uni's the English criteria doesn't seem to include accommodation and/or food in their ranking of Uni's. But they are rated in rankings in other parts of the world because it's such a key part of university life. Some students rank the degree program reputation and teaching first, with food and accommodation second. If those 2 categories are great, then everything else is just gravy (excuse the pun).
Some students do, some students don't. If the university were to pander to the preferences of every potential student then they would bankrupt themselves. Accommodation is important to you; sports facilities are important to others; social interaction opportunities to others; libraries for others; transport links for others (my own particular stance); computing facilities to others. There is such a plethora of things which play a key role in university life that accommodating all of them is nigh-on impossible. Universities have to prioritise and the University of Edinburgh obviously puts more stock in other areas. Can you say that our computing facilities are not excellent? Or our libraries? The way things stand, we have adequeate facilities for food and excellent facilities elsewhere. Perhaps, given the right lobbying, the emphasis will be placed on accommodation and catering.

Maybe it's a North American thing, but all of my friends are vegetarian and have been for some time, they weren't expecting gourmet veggie cuisine, but at least one menu item and the possibility of maybe cooking something in your kitchen on your floor. You now get vegetarian selections on airplanes and in most restaurants these days so it's not such an unusual request.
This is an unfair criticism in my view. At the time of application it is made expressly clear that Pollock Halls does not cater to a high degree for vegetarians and that they would be advised to look elsewhere. Nonetheless there was always at least one vegetarian main course at night, to say nothing of the exceptional salad bar options, and the frequently vegetarian soups and pasta sauces. Also, in addition to the vegetarian main course, there was, more often than not, also a fish option, which many vegetarians are willing to eat as a source of protein. There is also a wide variety of cereals available at breakfast, as well as vegetarian sausages, porridge, prunes and mushrooms. In my opinion (and I stress, this is just my opinion), considering they warn vegetarians of the pitfalls of life in Pollock for them, the University bends over backwards to accommodate the vegetarian community, going well beyond what is necessary, given their disclaimer.

Also many other uni's that offer fully catered accommodation also have fully equipped kitchens so students can choose to cook if and when they want to. University students have lots of visitors either family and/or friends from overseas and/or from other cities in the UK etc on the weekends or during vacations (e.g. 3 week Easter holidays). It's so nice to be able to cook them a meal in your own place and maybe even invite others on the floor to join in especially for birthday celebrations etc. But you can't do this in Chancellor's Ct. because they don't want you to cook anything in the kitchens which I found very surprising when I moved in.
I am actually very sympathetic to this line of reasoning. I believe that, for the price we are paying, we should be getting our meals over and above what those in self-catered are getting, that is, we should get all their facilities and more. However, it is intimated when you apply that such facilities do not exist and, therefore, the decision to pursue your options in Pollock is one that you take in spite of this. Again, I will be lobbying this year to get some change in this department, with my priority being to have freezers installed in each pantry. This at least would make the microwave a more useful piece of equipment.

These are my opinions- I respect that you have your own and am truly sorry that you were disappointed by your experience. I gladly welcome any further comment you have to make.
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thisisrubbish
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Oh dear... this thread has offically put me off Pollock
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