How time flies. As the spring semester winds down rapidly, we are almost at the end of another school year. This is final exam week and Commencement is next weekend.So for students packing in extra study time during finals, tonight our DCs have exam treats. We’re also extending our hours of operation, closing at 2:00 am.And for the seniors who will be graduating shortly, this is an amazing, exciting time. Many of them will be seeking work as they start new careers, and some will go to grad school.At UMass Dining, we always have mixed feelings about graduation.
It’s been a busy, memorable time for all of us at UMass. We are celebrating everything from Founders Day, various alumni events, and the inauguration of the chancellor, to the launch of the UMass Rising Capital Campaign. For Auxiliary Enterprises, this means that we are in the thick of things. It’s so great to be part of the festivities.Over the weekend, our UMass Hotel was filled to capacity. Our catering department prepared everything from a mega lunch event for 1000 people to a red-carpet, black-tie dinner.
The UMass Official State Dinner: A night to celebrate our seniors
Posted April 14, 2013
(Link to Flyer)At UMass Dining Services, we are fortunate to have more than 16,000 students and staff on the meal plan. Among them, 3,368 are seniors. It is unusual for any school to have so many seniors on the meal plan, but it’s the new normal at UMass.We care about all of our students. We listen to their feedback and strive to improve. Just yesterday afternoon near our food truck site in the Southwest Café area—a very busy spot—a senior named Mark approached me.
That is the $64 thousand question.UMass Dining recently hosted the second “Best Campus Food” event at the Berkshire Dining Commons. The event followed the 2013 Princeton Review rankings, which not only rates academics but also food quality on campus. This year, we were ranked #3 for food, an impressive feat.We hosted the event for two reasons. We are always looking for reasons to invite college chefs to our campus, and we also wanted to celebrate our ranking with other Princeton Review-lauded college foodservice departments.
Two week ago, I attended a conference in which I overheard a speaker on a panel say something that I couldn’t agree with. The point the speaker made was that even though college students talk about healthy eating, they still consume a lot of burgers and fries.I beg to differ. Our students expect UMass Dining to provide great-tasting food that also happens to be healthy.
Last Thursday afternoon, I received a call from John Lehmann of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA). He casually asked if I were available during the middle of May. I checked my calendar and answered yes. Then John said, “Congratulations, you have been selected to receive one of the 2013 Silver Plate Awards in the category of College and Universities.” He also requested my attendance for several events leading up to the evening of the Gold & Silver Plate Celebration.I was dumbfounded.
At UMass, I’m often asked the following questions: How many meals does UMass serve each day?How do you know how much food to prepare without running out?How do you maintain quality levels?What do you do with the leftovers? These are all great questions. As the second-largest campus dining operation in the nation—we have 16,000 students on a meal plan—we have a lot to coordinate to make sure everyone gets a satisfying meal. These are questions that we grapple with each day.
Seeking out the Next Big Thing on campus; plus: Celebrate Flavors of Canada tonight
Posted February 04, 2013
Campus dining is a dynamic business. We are similar to the restaurant business—yet so different. Our customers dine with us several times a day, but they patronize restaurants only occasionally. You may say we are lucky to have such a captive audience, but let me tell you: It’s not easy to please our guests all day, every day.Our millennial dinners are constantly looking for the Next Big Thing. They are health-conscious, tech-savvy, and concerned about the environment. The Pew Research Center describes this generation as confident, connected, and open to change.
-Chef Willie and Ken attend the Produce First Conference at Culinary Institute of America Napa Valley-Citrus Bulgar Salad11 Campus Dining Trends for 2013This is the start of a new semester. It’s also a time to look at rising trends in college and university dining as we strive to serve our millennial dinners better. UMass is the second-largest campus dining operations in the nation, and we are constantly talking to our students about what they want.
Welcome Back! We can’t wait to serve you.I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed time with your family and friends. Sunday afternoon, I toured the Southwest area with Garett DiStefano, director of residential dining, to ensure that we are ready to serve you. It was so nice to see you again and in many cases, your family as well. We have many exciting changes for this semester that I can hardly wait to tell you about. Here is a sampling.1. Healthy Food and Certified Status.