Williams College appoints new assistant director of student dining

Gayle Donohue’s experience with Real Food Challenge and allergy awareness will help guide the department.

Gayle Donohue has been appointed as the new assistant director of student dining at Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass. Previously, Donohue served as the manager of the campus’s Mission Park dining hall and has been a college staff member since 2005, where she served as assistant manager of the Faculty House.

Among other reasons, Donohue was chosen for the position for her experience collaborating with Real Food Challenge as well as her work on allergy awareness. “I think it’s critical that whoever was chosen had a good understanding of what Real Food is all about. Certainly [Donohue] had that having worked with Real Food Challenge and the Zilkah Center,” Director of Dining Services Bob Volpi said. “Also, the other important parts of the job include allergy awareness, and [Donohue] recently took on one of our assignments to look at how we label our food and has done an incredible job working with our nutritionist to get our labeling so that it really has better meaningful notations of what the allergens are.”

“I wanted to become the assistant director of student dining to continue to realize our shared vision to be the best student dining in the nation through pride in sustainability, diversity, relationship building and thoughtful financial stewardship,” Donohue told the campus newspaper, The Williams Record. “We keep our eye on food cost but it is not the totality of what we do. Food is at the center of the decisions I make and the way I manage and structure my team. I want to build relationships with students and staff, to form meaningful bonds.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

FSD Resources