A Wyoming Welcome

Geography and regional nuance set the stage for a university’s year-long series of dinners promoting American cuisines.

Much is said about how non-commercial foodservice is tied to the mission of the organization, be it a corporation, hospital, school or college. Much is also said about how foodservice departments can and should develop promotions that highlight their talents, increase customer counts and boost their image among the clientele.

Where do these two concepts meet? For some, they meet in the form of theme dinners—like they do at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where the dining services team recently held its Welcome to Wyoming themed dinner, kicking off a year-long series of special dinners meant to link dining services with the university’s educational program.

This year’s series—focusing on regional American cuisine—follows the program’s debut series last year. That series exposed students to dishes from around the world, including China, India, Germany and several African nations, while deepening the staff’s working knowledge of how to prepare authentic ethnic dinners, says director of dining service Dave Wallace.

The team also hung informative posters and displayed native artifacts hailing from the featured country of each event to educate students on the various cultures represented. 

In planning the events, the dining services teamed up with the university’s Passport for Success program, a residential services initiative that offers seminars, activities and other resources to students living on campus and gives support to help them succeed academically. “One of the goals of our department was to integrate the dining services into the academic mission of the university and we thought Passport for Success was a good fit,” says Wallace.

After the globe-trotting theme of last year’s series, Wallace decided to bring the program back home. This academic year, it is featuring American cuisine, including:

  • A New England-themed Thanksgiving feast.
  • A Floridian winter holiday meal.
  • Southwestern flavors in January. 
  • Southern cuisine, with an emphasis on African American influences for Black History Month. "

Because of the success of the program last year, we decided to continue down that road, but to stay within the confines of the United States,” Wallace says—“a Tour of America.”

The first dinner of the year, held at the university’s Marché-platform–style Washakie Dining Center, was the Welcome to Wyoming event, which featured dishes such as buffalo fajitas with ranch-style beans, broiled fresh spring trout, elk stew served in a bread bowl and sage corn bread with Wyoming honey butter.

“Throughout the dining hall we had poster stand-ups explaining the history of Wyoming,” Wallace says, “and posters (with information on) famous people and state facts to educate students about our state.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is celebrating National Nutrition Month by offering free weekly samples of plant-based items , as well as hosting produce-centric events around campus, the Indiana Daily Student reports.

Every Wednesday this month, students will be able to sample such dishes as vegetable vindaloo, lemon-herb quinoa salad, and pistachio and apricot couscous. Some of the items featured have been offered previously on campus, while others are new recipes.

The university has also partnered with a culinary training organization to launch two plant-based...

Industry News & Opinion

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced $900,000 in mini grants to expand alternative breakfast programs at school districts throughout the state, Pittsburgh Action News reports . The governor secured the additional funding as part of the 2017-18 state budget.

“Students who start the day with a healthy breakfast are ready to focus and learn,” Wolf said in a press release. “Expanding access to school breakfast is an effective way to positively impact the lives and performance of individual students, as well as improve the overall climate in schools and classrooms.”


Menu Development

At University of North Dakota, National Nutrition Month in March sometimes elicits as much excitement as the NCAA basketball tournament or spring break. That’s when the school’s version of the TV show “Chopped” takes place. The competition is an event organized by UND Dining’s registered dietitian, Dustin Frize, in partnership with the college’s chefs. Students are organized into teams, given a basket of nutritious foods and tasked with creating winning dishes. “Healthfulness is a key component of the judging,” Frize says.

And this unique partnership is gaining traction nationwide...

Industry News & Opinion

The dining team at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., has updated the halal offerings at its student center after student concerns of cross-contamination and mislabeling, The Hofstra Chronicle reports.

After listening to students, the center’s halal options were moved from a self-serve line to a hot entree station. The dining team also updated its signage to better indicate which meals are halal.

In addition to halal hot dogs and hamburgers, students will now have the option of halal beef as well as new globally inspired halal meals.

Read the full story via...

FSD Resources