The Big Idea: Performance Dining

Performance Dining educates students about the relationship between food, energy output and the body's use food to improve the mind, body and spirit.

Eric Montell
Executive Director, Stanford Dining
Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Last fall, we opened Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, a state-of-the-art dining facility with a central production kitchen. The dining hall features Performance Dining, which was developed by Stanford Dining in partnership with Stanford Athletics, the School of Medicine and The Culinary Institute of America.

Over the last several years, Residential & Dining Enterprises Senior Associate Vice Provost Shirley Everett and I had met with Brandon Marcello, the director of Sports Performance, to discuss creating a first-of-its-kind Performance Dining initiative on the Stanford campus. As part of this initiative, a Wellness and Performance Dining Nutritionist position was created in Stanford Dining to collaborate on the program. As an alum of The Culinary Institute of America, I also created a strategic partnership with the CIA to help with menu and recipe development and to access the culinary expertise of the CIA’s staff of certified master chefs.

Performance Dining consists of six main categories: enhanced immunity, anti-inflammatory components, food synergy, brain performance, sports performance and antioxidants. The Performance Dining program was designed with synergistic food and nutrient combinations and performance themes in mind to help students perform at their mental and physical peak. Wellness and Performance Dining falls under our EatWell program, which encompasses fresh, healthy and sustainable food. The goal of the program, which is open to all students on the dining plan, is to educate students about the relationship between food components, energy output and ability of the body to use food components to improve performance in mind, body and spirit. We also want students, staff and faculty to develop new eating habits that improve their well-being throughout their lifetime. Affecting change in their dining habits through a program of this nature will influence a lifetime of eating behaviors and the eating habits of those within their future influence. This program could become a model for other university dining programs to influence and greatly affect the eating habits of their students.

The cooking suite at Arrillaga is used to prepare food for the dining hall, as well as to cook food to order for the training table during dinner and late-night service. The suite includes a sauté station with two types of gas-fired range tops—open burners and French-top style. The back side of the suite features a griddle, charbroiler and fryer station.

The suite also has an integral bain marie, coolers and freezers. A fire onyx “chef’s counter” allows a handful of students to enjoy front-row seats to the alchemy and artistry taking place in the cooking suite. Three high-definition video cameras aimed at the suite can be broadcast on four networked flat-panel screens in the surrounding area to engage large student audiences in the cooking production.

Approaching wellness from a holistic perspective, Arrillaga also has a conference room that doubles as a multipurpose wellness room, with a sprung hardwood floor for classes such as dance, yoga and pilates. A separate study room with a ceiling-mounted projector is used for hosting seminars and classes related to wellness.

Our students enjoy sustainable and healthful food, Performance Dining, menu options catering to dietary or lifestyle restrictions, extended operating hours and customized food cooked to order. In addition the new facility caters to students’ overall well-being with spaces that are conducive to wellness, nutrition, culinary excellence, exercise, stress reduction, community-building and relaxation. 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources