Rochelle Vander Helm–Guest Writer
It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. Like the sun, Dordt campus is still asleep, but inside this one building, the fans are buzzing, the florescent lights blare, and the people who make Dordt Dining happen hustle and bustle about. They are preparing for the coming day.
Cheryl Van Wyk joins the dining staff, checking refrigerator temperatures and taking brief inventory. She begins to conjure up a plan for the day, hoping to be out of the kitchen by 2 o’clock. Van Wyk is the genius behind what many consider the best part of eating in the Commons. She makes dessert.
It seems that everybody knows that there is one person behind the desserts in the commons, but few know who it is. Now the mystery is solved.
Van Wyk originally came to Dordt as a student. She wasn’t always a baker, originally, she meant to study Physical Therapy. Van Wyk didn’t even bake much as a kid. She describes how every week her Grandma would bake delicious chocolate chip cookies and send them home with her family. They would also stop by for coffee time and get homemade cinnamon rolls.
“Grandma made the best twinkie cake” Van Wyk remembers. Unfortunately, Grandma wouldn’t give up the secrets to how twinkie cake is properly done.
Since Grandma provided all the baked goodies a family could need “there wasn’t much need to bake” growing up, Van Wyk says.
Despite not having a baker’s background, Van Wyk does a phenomenal job providing baked goods for the Commons. For many, the dessert is the best part.
“The desserts are dangerous,” says Rachel Wordes, a freshman, describing her inability to pass them by after each meal. Megan Meyer, one of Wordes’ roommates, says she would also have to say the desserts are the best part of the commons. Her only complaint is that her favorite desserts are always out at one time, so she can’t have them all.
Van Wyk is very careful to provide something for everyone. This is one of the reasons why the dessert table is so popular. Van Wyk makes sure to only have one nut item out per meal and to always rotate the desserts, so they don’t get boring. She tries to offer variety, so everyone can enjoy desert–and the students notice. Like Kelly Bulthuis, who doesn’t like nuts.
“We may be the minority, I don’t know…but some of us don’t like nuts.” Bulthuis appreciates that there are choices for her that don’t include peanuts or pecans or what have you. This is also encouraging to those students who suffer from nut allergies.
It is tough transitioning into college life, with the new house, new friends, and different food–the whole deal is stressful. Many students miss home cooked food; the Commons is not terrible, but it is not home either.
Cheryl Van Wyk makes life just a little bit better for homesick students by cheering everything up with a touch of sugar. Let us have a round of applause for Cheryl Van Wyck who helps keep Dordt campus sane and stable with fresh baked goods for all the students.