Christopher Dunham

Christopher Dunham's driving force has made him a success at North Carolina State University.

Why Selected?

According to Lisa Eberhart, executive dietitian, Christopher has transformed dining services at NC State by:

• Being the driving force in My Roots are at NC State sustainability program, which promotes local purchasing by showcasing NC State connections

• Fostering partnerships with local producers, university alumni and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture

• Establishing a My Roots Herb Garden outside of one of the dining halls

Details

Sustainability Coordinator for University Dining, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Age: 24
Education: B.S. in nutrition science from NC State University
Years at organization: 3

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is when I received The Pioneering Efforts Award from the City of Raleigh for pioneering local food connections and demonstrating environmental stewardship through involvement of staff, alumni and students.
 

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

Since I am a recent graduate, I have more insight compared to seasoned colleagues as to what students will connect with and what kinds of programs and initiatives they will take ownership of.
 

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself and you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.
 

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Keeping the percentage of purchased local food at an all-time high, while being limited by quantity needs and other contractual obligations that we currently have with other vendors.
 

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Our 2012 All Carolinas Meal was the first large event that I assisted in planning for the department. I was able to see the event from beginning to end and experience the students’ and staff’s enthusiasm when they arrived and
experienced the event.
 

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I would like to assist the program in increasing the amount of local food that we purchase throughout the year. We are currently at 28% local, and I am hoping that in the very near future we can increase that number.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

That was when we were planning a farm-to-fork meal at the local NC State Agroecology Education Farm. We had planned out everything in its entirety, but the one thing that we forgot to do was to reserve a catering truck to get everything over to the farm. Luckily, we found a way to get everything in the back of my truck, and the event turned out to be a success.
 

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
chili spaghetti

Iconic local dishes like Cincinnati chili may not be entirely healthy, but they are incredibly popular. Across the country, K-12 operators are finding ways to add these foods to their lunch menus while still meeting their nutritional requirements. How are they adapting popular recipes and bringing them to schools—and is it worth it?

Cincinnati chili has been a staple of Mason City Schools lunches for as long as anyone can remember. Located just outside of Cincinnati, the school system serves its chili in two traditional ways: covering a pile of spaghetti, or atop a cheese Coney dog...

Ideas and Innovation
torch flame

There’s more than one way to open a wine bottle. When a corkscrew is nowhere to be found, David Brue—chef de cuisine and production manager for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s central production kitchen in Columbus, Ohio—reaches for his butane torch.

“I can never find a corkscrew anywhere, but for some reason, I always have a torch,” Brue says. “Heat the neck of the bottle carefully, and the cork pops right out.”

Managing Your Business
uconn gluten free bakery

When Amarillo Independent School District opened a central bakery , the foodservice team faced years of challenges: getting a handle on equipment, refining recipes and planning for shrinkage, says Michael Brungo, residential district manager of dining services for Chartwells at the Amarillo, Texas, district. Through trial and error, the right solutions at the bakery—which provides sliced bread and sandwich buns for the district’s 55 schools—rose to the top.

Though kitchens in general can be a minefield of issues, bakeries present some unique challenges thanks in part to the finicky...

Managing Your Business
food safety manager paperwork

Food safety can be a lot to handle, requiring plenty of paperwork and diligence to ensure a kitchen complies with health regulations. It’s important to assess the structure of a food safety program —and to know what’s required, and what’s just good to have on hand.

In recent years, as Virginia Tech’s foodservice operations have expanded, so has its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points strategy. The Blacksburg, Va., university doubled its food safety staff to two employees, in addition to a training project coordinator and a manager to teach basic food safety classes to...

FSD Resources