story Justin Ong, Contributing Reporter
The wait is finally over. This Friday, the Saga and Elm butteries will open, while Cendana’s will open on Sunday. In the lead-up, the butteries have been hiring and training staff, buying equipment, and firming up the menu and finances, said Elm Buttery Associate Manager Jay Lusk ’18. New equipment and cutlery are still being delivered as the butteries are “starting from scratch” in the new campus, said Saga Buttery Associate Manager Jason Carranceja ’18.
Traditionally, a buttery is a room in college where food is kept and sold to students. But the Yale-NUS College butteries will be a supper space and more, said Saga Buttery Dean’s Fellow (DF) Nishant Jalgaonkar. Elm Buttery will be an open and permeable space for students to interact and have meaningful conversations, said Lusk. As Cendana’s is located closer to the suites, on the third floor above the dining hall, it will be a more homely environment, said Cendana Buttery DF James Shirvell.
All the butteries are striving to define themselves. Saga Buttery will have interactive art pieces on display such as Saga Love seeds. “This will make the space truly ours and filled with things for the community,” said Saga Buttery manager Meddley Bourdeau ’17. Cendana Buttery will feature healthy options such as fresh fruit juice and wholemeal buns, and try to offer vegetarian options, said Cendana Buttery Manager Hoa Nguyen ’17.
With more students and butteries, the buttery staff are expecting to face a variety of problems. Managers will need to figure out the number of visitors on different days, and the amount of food to be stocked. They will have to depend on intuition and smart guesses for the first few weeks, said Lusk. To accommodate this unpredictability, buttery managers have and will be cooperating actively.
How to improve effectiveness of ordering systems, eco-friendliness of the kitchen and close rapport between staff members are problems that Bourdeau foresees and will scrutinize for the first few weeks. “We are in a completely new space, so please be patient,” said Bourdeau.
Nonetheless, the buttery staff are excited to open their doors to the rest of the college. Lusk heralds this opportunity as a learning experience for all involved. “It’s all about responding to different situations and keeping careful track of what works and what doesn’t,” he said.
Mr. Jalgaonkar hopes that each buttery will further develop its own identity over the coming years. This first year will be particularly interesting because of the completely new experiences the buttery staff will face. However, the community will only find out the theme and menu of each buttery when it opens. Just as Mr. Jalgaonkar said: “Let there be a little more surprise, and let’s see how opening night turns out.”
How does pricing work in the buttery?
Food is sold at cost-price of ingredients and manpower, while operations and equipment are funded by the rector’s budget.
Can non-buttery workers cook at the buttery?
The butteries have fixed staff but others can serve specials or offer menu suggestions.
Why are the butteries open on the days that they are?
Elm Buttery will offer a central meeting place for those on campus over the weekend. On the busiest shifts of Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, two butteries will be open.
Saga College: Shiok Shack
Opening night: Tuesday, Sept. 15, 9 pm
Open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 pm – 12 am
Buttery Manager: Meddley Bourdeau
Elm College: (name still pending)
Opening night: Sunday, Sept. 13, 9 pm
Open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 9 pm – 12 am
Buttery Manager: Adlin Zainal
Cendana College: The Nest
Opening night: Sunday, Sept. 13, 9 pm
Open on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, 9 pm – 12 am
Buttery Manager: Hoa Nguyen
UPDATE: Opening night has been changed from Friday, Sept. 11 to Sunday, Sept. 13.