The Best...

Guest chef event we’ve done
The most memorable were with the chef from Piccola Italia Ristorante and the chef from Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse. The chefs worked closely with our chef so that we could duplicate and add their recipes to our program.  A lot of the other chefs were more interested in getting free advertising for their restaurants and not did divulge their recipes.
—Joe Stanislaw, director of food and nutrition, Elliot Hospital, Manchester, N.H.

Social media program I’ve seen
The use of Twitter for food trucks. We are working on a mobile food cart, which would sell food to staff and visitors on patient care units. I’m looking to possibly use Twitter to do the same thing within the hospital to let people know about the cart.
—Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and food services, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

Place I’ve gone for menu inspiration
Starbucks Coffee stores. We serve their coffee on our campus and coming from the Northwest, it almost feels like family since Starbucks is in our own backyard. I also feel they get it in terms of how coffee is supposed to happen. We often borrow their ideas and mirror our service at our espresso kiosks after their stores.
—Mark Eggleston, director of hospitality services, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash.

Use of “stealth health:” We purchase tons of local produce every year and make breakfast breads. Students might see the small colored specks but likely don’t know they are eating shredded zucchini and carrots.
—Doug Davis, director of food service, Burlington Schools, Burlington, Vt.

Motivational book I’ve ever read
“Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” by coach John Wooden and Steve Jamison. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the motivational leadership style of coach Wooden. I found his simple and direct observations inspiring. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Leaders are interested in finding the best way, rather than having it their own way.”
—Pat Farris, foodservice director, St. Tammany Parish School District, Covington, La.

Advice I ever received from a chef
When he was the executive chef here, Denis Ellis told me, “You train seals and teach people,” meaning people need to understand the reasons why we ask for a certain procedure to be followed. They need to understand the root of things so that they can repeat the practice in any appropriate situation.
—David Prentkowski, director of foodservice, University of Notre Dame, notre dame, ind.

Food truck concept I’ve experienced
I like The Grilled Cheese Truck in Los Angeles. They took a comfort food like grilled cheese and then classed it up with some really interesting combinations.
—Rick Johnson, assistant vice president of housing and dining, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Way to relieve stress while on the job
Eat, or should I say “taste test.”
—Rich Burlingame, director of nutrition services, Great River Medical Center, Burlington, Iowa

Customer interaction event we’ve done
I do cooking and carving demonstrations to keep residents entertained at special events. Almost all community events at Rice Estates requires food and drink of some sort. This gives me a chance to cook or entertain right in front of my customer base. I have made bananas Foster, cherries jubilee, crêpes suzette, and shrimp and grits for them. Their favorite is the build-your-own omelet. I also like to do carving demos. At this past year’s Autumn Festival, I carved a jack-o’-lantern topiary for them, which stayed on display for a few days in the lobby.
—Rich Schmitt, director of food services, Rice Home Estates, Columbia, S.C.

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Industry News & Opinion

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

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gluten free diet

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A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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