I think that a common technique used by many chefs is the idea that an artful presentation of a dish will make up for everything else that is lacking... Namely, flavor.
One of the few consistencies I have discovered in the cafeteria food here is the complete inability to properly cook rice. Of the many rice dishes I have tried at this fine establishment, none have been good. I mean, it truly takes skill to make rice this bad... Especially considering that a good percentage of the population at this school comes from a background where rice is an integral part of their diet.
The chicken was also generally unremarkable and flavorless... Never a surprise.