Notre Dame's David Prentkowski dies

Director was 55.

Aug. 13—David R. Prentkowski, longtime director of food services at the University of Notre Dame, died Aug. 9 in a drowning accident that also claimed the life of his 18-month-old granddaughter, Charlotte.

Prentkowski and his granddaughter were found in the pool at his home. Authorities have yet to disclose how they drowned.

Prentkowski had served as director at Notre Dame since 1990. Earlier he served as director of food services at the University of Utah and the University of Michigan. He was an active member of the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). He served as president of the association from 1996-1997. Earlier this year NACUFS named its Distinguished Service Award for Prentkowski, and he was on hand to present the award at the national conference to Michael Rice. Prentkowski was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last fall and had served as honorary chairperson of Notre Dame's 2012 Relay for Life.

“Dave and Charlotte’s tragic deaths are a shocking and heartbreaking loss,” Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, said in a university press release. “Dave’s energy, devotion and courage will continue to inspire the Notre Dame family even as his death and the Prentkowski family’s grief are in our prayers.”

Prentkowski is survived by his wife, Wanda, three daughters, Mara (Matt) Kaiser, Erica Prentkowski and Andra Prentkowski; and one son, Nicholas Prentkowski.

Contributions in memory of Prentkowski may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Center for Hospice Care.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

FSD Resources