$4 Lunches Under New Management

$4 Lunches Under New Management

Yes, you still need to do your own dishes

For the first time in over 20 years, OUSA’s famous $4 lunches will no longer be served by the Hare Krishna community. This is after Jane Beecroft, known as the “lunch lady” of the Hare Krishnas, announced her retirement in February. 

South Dunedin restaurant Tandooree Garden will be taking their place, at least for the year. Clubs & Societies Centre manager Michaela Tangimetua said this was “temporary… until OUSA can build a longer-term plan.” While there will be some tweaks to the menu, she reassured students that not much will change. “The pricing of the main meal will remain $4, there will be vegetarian options that are based around hearty carbs…. You can still grab a drink, a samosa, and we’re sorry but you still have to wash your own plate!” 

Jane, who played a leading role running the lunches since 1997, could not agree more about that. Speaking to Critic Te Arohi – who she called “a friend from way back” - she said the lunches were about more than just providing a cheap feed. 

Being run by a tight-knit, motivated spiritual community was key to that, said Jane: “We did it for love. We were motivated by a genuine concern for the wellbeing of the community. If I could give it away, I would! And if someone didn’t have the money, I still would’ve fed them. I often did! It’s understanding that we’re all one family.”

While the future of the lunches were “in the hands of the OUSA,” she said that she hoped the new operators would remember the spirit behind the service. Most students loved the “heart and soul” behind the food, she added, saying it was often “way more than just a meal for them… they felt cared for and loved”. 

Jane was well-known for buzzing around behind the counter, and that energy has continued into retirement: “all I’m thinking of is ways that I can reconnect with students,” she said. She’s already brainstorming ideas for how to stay involved, from a community garden, to cooking classes to a “mobile samosa wagon,” which she wants to call “Krishna Kai”.

Heading into 2022, while Jane is stepping out of the limelight for a bit to “renew, recharge and rejuvenate,” she wanted to emphasise that “I’m still in Dunedin, at your service. If there’s anything you need help with, stuff about life, the universe or anything, I’m happy to help.”

This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2022.
Posted 2:33pm Sunday 27th February 2022 by Denzel Chung.