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

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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