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

Ideas and Innovation
nuts

We decided through focus group feedback that our freshmen struggled with the allergy-friendly options or options for students with diabetes on campus. In response, we decided to have a dinner the first few weeks of classes to let some of these students know what was available and let them network with their peers and others with allergies or diabetes. NC State Dining chefs prepared menu items based on foods from cultures around the world. ... From delicious sliced sweet potatoes to savory Ikarian-style roasted chicken, students were able to sample global dishes free of allergens.

Ideas and Innovation
coffee cups

We started a monthly Coffee Hour with just the department director. The goal is to gather 
staff feedback about their jobs and answer individual questions. After the first event, 
several staff members emailed stating they just wanted to meet with the director without 
their supervisors. Now, the meetings offer an opportunity for more of a one-on-one conversation without the presence of the supervisor they 
deal with day in and day out.

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

FSD Resources