Second Annual "The Best..."

Catering

The best special event we’ve held in the last year
We hosted our NACUFS Regional Meeting last March, and the Dining Services team turned our marketplace servery into an upscale catering area with multiple platforms. We had a shrimp and grits station, a cold seafood bar, a smoked brisket and barbecue station, and an incredible dessert station with a variety of selections and in-house produced candies. Add a great band and everyone had a wonderful time.
—Dee Hardy, director of auxiliary services, University of Richmond, Richmond, Va.

Location for a catered event
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. We did two holiday events there and the museum was decorated with Christmas trees. There is a large space and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Grand River. The museum staff was great and they had the best receiving area as far as food goes. The atmosphere was what made it so special.
—Randy Sparrow, director of food, nutrition and environmental services, Indiana University Health, Bloomington, Ind.

The Best, Sneakers Catering event we’ve done
We held a Suits and Sneakers Gala, which was a benefit reception and dinner for Coaches vs. Cancer, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. The event was held on the basketball court of Stegeman Coliseum. It was a very formal event with the exception that everyone wore athletic shoes. The white-gloved servers circulated throughout the crowd of 400 guests with items like bacon-wrapped scallops with red pepper coulis, risotto cakes with lemon aïoli and beef bourguignonne in puff pastry. For dinner we served Maryland-style crab cakes with tarragon remoulade and petite filet mignon with red wine demi-glaze with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus bundles. The event was upbeat and fun despite it being very upscale.
—Jeanne Fry, director of food services, Bolton Dining Commons, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

Theme for a catered event
Food around the world. I attended an event that had a bunch of stations, and each station featured food from different parts of the world and the different cooking styles from those countries.
—Tim Prosinski, Director of food services, Berlin Public Schools, Berlin, Conn.

Specialty menu item we’ve created for a catered event
A compressed watermelon with basil salt. I loved this one because it was born from the mother of invention. I made it for a last-minute catering event from what we had available. It was the middle of summer and this little appetizer exemplified the bounty of the summer. It was unexpected and took people by surprise.
—Eric Eisenberg, executive chef, Swedish Health Services, Seattle

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
to-go meals

Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
email

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.

Ideas and Innovation
salmon and yogurt

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette, kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing, and leek soup with prickled cucumbers, to name a few.

FSD Resources