Downtown chef delights UMass-Lowell students

Visiting chefs series brings off-campus restaurants to students.

April 1—Corned beef quesadilla, lime-marinated chicken with chipotle potatoes au gratin and fried bananas with coconut ice cream sound like items straight from the menu of a hip bistro.

But that’s the lineup students at campus dining halls were treated to thanks to the Visiting Chef series, a program launched by Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, two years ago to inject a change of pace into the menu and introduce students to options for eating out off-campus.

Dining Services prepared a menu created by Jason Viteri, chef and kitchen manager at Garcia Brogan’s, an Irish-Mexican restaurant in downtown Lowell. Viteri shared his recipes and instructed dining services staff how to prepare them over spring break. UMass Lowell Dining Executive Chef Timothy Conklin then scaled the recipes to serve 2,500 at South Campus’ Mill City Restaurant, the Inn and Conference Center and the Dining Commons at Fox Hall.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
food symbols allergens

Bellevue School District in King County, Wash., has reduced the instances of life-threatening allergic reactions by 94% since 2013. Wendy Weyer, business manager for nutrition services, says that success stems from direct communication with the district’s 20,000 students.

Q: What was the first thing you did to start reducing allergic reactions?

A: More than five years ago, we changed our menu signage to provide information to students on what the common allergens were on all the foods that were served at every station. We use symbols such as an egg or a wheat stalk for younger...

Ideas and Innovation
cold storage boxes

When working with a small footprint, the back of the house often gets squeezed in the interest of preserving precious seats. But as storage space contracts, these restaurant operators are getting resourceful with everything from shelves to ceiling height to inventory in ways that FSDs can apply, too.

“When we were first tasked with figuring out smaller footprints, when it came to interiors, it was like a bad riddle,” says Trinity Hall, SVP of development for Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which shrunk its prototype from 2,200 square feet to 1,800. “Let’s make it smaller and...

Menu Development
induction cooking nuts

Thanks to prolific fast casuals such as Chipotle, guests have come to expect a certain level of customization in their dining options. For almost 50% of Generation Zers, customization is a deciding factor when purchasing food, according Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report . Taking customization even further, operations are handing over even more control to customers with both build-your-own and cook-your-own stations.

Elder Hall’s My Kitchen station at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., offers a daily rotating ingredient bar with items such as stir-fry,...

Managing Your Business
business marketing concepts drawing

Sharp, smart marketing materials can make all the difference when it comes to drawing a big crowd for a menu launch or upcoming event. With more avenues to cover than ever and fewer resources to go around, operators offer their tips on making marketing work from start to finish.

Start with communication

Whether it’s an in-house marketing department, an outside agency or someone on staff wearing the marketing hat part-time, the right people need to be involved early and often. “Marketing doesn’t always have a seat at the table [like] it should in order to be truly effective,” says...

FSD Resources