Fourth Annual "The Best"

Fourth Annual "The Best"

Menu

Best new menu item we introduced in 2013
My favorite this year is our mini items like mini shepherd’s pie, mini pot pies and mini crêpes gratinée at Passport Café. Not only do the items help with portion control and cost, but presentationwise they really have impact and are hard for our customers to resist.

Another one of my favorites is our grab-and-go Asian food at Passport Café. We added some popular appetizers. From sushi to fresh rolls, steamed dumplings and even crab salad, the appetizers really added interest to our grab-and-go case. And since we partnered with a popular local sushi restaurant, we solved a couple of challenges: They provide us with the variety our community craves, students get the same quality they were used to at Asian restaurants and we didn’t have to bring in a ton of new ingredients or packaging.
—Maya Vincelli, assistant director of retail operations, University of Richmond, Virginia

At our new food truck, the Galloping Griz, which opened in April 2013, we wanted to offer our student guests unique menu items with a low food cost and quality ingredients at a competitive price point. During some experimentation, Ian Waetje, manager of UM Concessions, rolled carne asada and pepper Jack cheese in a fresh-made tortilla, then fried it to a crispy, golden brown. The result was a neatly packaged combination of hearty Mexican flavors, and the “asada bomb,” or “A-Bomb,” was born. Soon to follow were the H-Bomb, the vegetarian version featuring hummus and avocado; the Kung “Pow” Bomb, with chicken, green onion, Szechuan peppercorns and a spicy kung “Pow” sauce; and the inevitable F-Bomb—“F” for fajita—complete with fire-braised chicken and green bell peppers. The bomb line is now a mainstay of the Galloping Griz’s late-night menu, selling about 60 bombs each night at $2.50 each.
—Mark LoParco, director of dining services, University of Montana, Missoula

Best vegetarian/vegan dish we offer
We have an absolutely delicious Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff that we serve in the dining centers that is very yummy.
—Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Fried Green Tomato Lasagna: Fried green tomatoes layered with garlic and herb Boursin cheese, housemade marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
—Paula Amols, director, Dining Services & Racer Hospitality, Murray State University, Murray, Ky.

Best special event menu we’ve created
A traditional New England clam bake for 800 members of our professional
association (NACUFS) at the conclusion of the 2012 National Conference.
—Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Best place I’ve gone for menu inspiration
The best of the best for menu inspiration took place while attending the AHF National Conference in New Orleans in June of 2013. New Orleans is the smorgasbord of culturally diverse restaurants and foods. Better yet was having the keynote speaker deliver a presentation on the evolution of the cuisine, combining French, English, Spanish and Black American. My personal favorite: Commander’s Palace.
—Frank Coffey, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn

Our parents! We enjoy serving recipes that reflect Saint Paul’s diverse student body.
—Jean Ronnei, chief operations officer, Saint Paul Public Schools, Minnesota

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
brisket beef plate

Just when it seemed barbecue couldn’t get any trendier—it did. More consumers now than in 2014 are looking for a variety of barbecue menu items, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. The demand is up for smoked sausage (+19%), beef brisket (+12%) and beef ribs (+16%) for dinner—a trend noncommercial operators say they are also noticing.

Corporate Executive R&D Chef Jeffrey Quasha at Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare helped launched 50 Liberty Street BBQ microconcept locations throughout the U.S. in December. Due to their success,...

Ideas and Innovation
restaurant patio

We recently started doing patio dining during the summer months, and stole some pointers for upscale barbecuing from local country clubs. We asked our residents who go to country clubs which elements they appreciate.

Ideas and Innovation
email computer screen

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources