Confessions of Ken Toong

Ken Toong is trying to break his bottled water habit.
UMass Dining's Ken Toong loves ice wine, wishes he could be a Wall Street banker and doesn't understand ash on food.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

It’s a fun job. Every day is very different. Food is a dynamic business and one that is constantly evolving. I really enjoy interacting with people.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

My family would say that I stay there too long.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Transforming UMass Dining into one of the best programs in the nation and working with my peers to change the public perception of campus dining.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

One of the celebrity comedians wanted us to pick up a tuna sandwich from a fast food chain instead of dining with us. It was a first!

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

I would like to be a banker working on Wall Street.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

I'd like to be able to memorize the names of all the people I meet.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Be less demanding of myself.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A foodborne illness outbreak. When you serve 40000 meals daily, we can't take any chances.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

My wife, Pam.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

Dim sum and more dim sum.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Chocolate and ice wine, the more, the better!

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Bottled water, a bad habit that I am trying to break.

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Chefs putting ash on food.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Baby rabbit sausage during 2012 Chef Collaborative Conference in Seattle.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

Both, but 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. is my best time frame.

Q. What are your words to live by?

Success is never final, delegate and hold yourself accountable for results, and uphold spirit to serve.

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

The '70s were a fun time.

Q. What do you value most in a friend?

Trust and forgiveness.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Travel around the world with my family.

Q. If you could eat dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

President Obama, he is a great motivator.

Q. What activity is at the top of your bucket list?

Traveling to other countries.

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

Mario Batali.

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