Ken Toong Named FSD of the Year

March 30—Ken Toong, executive director of dining services at
25,000-student University of Massachusetts in Amherst, has been named
FoodService Director’s FSD of the Year for 2008.


Toong was honored at a dinner presentation during the 2009 MenuDirections conference held in San Antonio. One of the 12 FSDs of the Month honored at the dinner, he was profiled in the December 2008 issue of FSD.


During Toong’s 11-year tenure at UMass, where he serves about 45,000 meals per day, he has re-engineered his dining halls to improve quality by having each dining hall specialize in a different cuisine, spearheaded a major renovation to the campus’ signature dining hall, attracted innovative and cost-effective retail brands by pursuing small business concepts rather than large national chains, encouraged variety by launching hundreds of special events and implemented sustainable business practices and healthy eating initiatives. As a result, his program earns about $55 million in revenue each year.


Accepting his award Toong said, “At UMass, we are always working on getting better and better. I am truly honored by this award and I welcome everyone to UMass who wants to see what we’re doing.”

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

FSD Resources