20 Most Influential: Mary Molt, Kansas State University

Mention “Food For Fifty” to anyone in non-commercial and usually there is instant recognition for Mary Molt's work.

Mary Molt
Assistant Director, Housing and Dining
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kan.

If you mention Mary Molt to operators outside of the college and university segment, very often the name will not ring a bell with them. But mention “Food For Fifty” to those same people and usually there is instant recognition, followed by praise for the book, which has been a guide for non-commercial operators and chefs for decades.

“It is a tremendous amount of work,” Molt says of the book, “but it is a resource of quantity recipes that, if they’re gone, they’re gone. ”

Molt’s authorship of the last seven editions of “Food For Fifty” is just one of several reasons why she has made our list. For nearly 40 years she has been both an operator and a teacher at Kansas State, an institution where dining service managers double as professors in the hospitality management program. Among her former students is Nona Golledge, director of KU Dining at the University of Kansas and the current president of the National Association of College & University Food Services.

“Mary has meant so much to NACUFS and to college foodservice,” says Golledge. “Everything she does is aimed at trying to make college foodservice the best it can be. She has mentored so many people over the years.”

Molt herself has never been president of NACUFS, but her contributions to that association have endeared her to many. For example, Molt helped develop the association’s first Professional Standards Manual, which helps college foodservice departments follow best practices in the areas of menu management, marketing, purchasing, food safety and security, capital improvement and sustainability.

Molt, who in 1995 received NACUFS’ highest honor, the Theodore W. Minah Award, this year was recognized with perhaps the foodservice industry’s highest honor. At the National Restaurant Show in Chicago, she received the Gold Plate from the Gold and Silver Plate Society of the International Food Manufacturers Association. 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.