Dahlia Nardone

Dahlia Nardone has brought enthusiasm to UNH Dining's retail.

Why Selected?

Andrew Porter, area manager of retail services, says: Dahlia has brought a youthfulness and enthusiasm to the retail program at UNH Dining with her outgoing personality and strong communication. She has quickly infused her experience at other smaller college and university accounts into a more diverse setting. She has provided strong guidance and input for locations that rarely saw management coverage—say 1 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday—allowing us to make swifter, more educated decisions on how the operations are run.

Details

Assistant Retail Manager, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Age: 30
Education: Associate’s degree in hospitality management from County College of Morris; B.S. in hotel, restaurant and tourism from Fairleigh Dickenson University
Years at organization: 1

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

[Laughs] Being chosen for this feature! My true proudest moment is being able to actually see my employees learn from what I do.

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

I feel that I learn from my seasoned colleagues, but a few of them may be set in their ways. I refuse to be. I like to take a fresh outlook on work and remember the purpose. We are here for the customers; if it wasn’t for them then we would have no purpose.

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

A few years back my boss at the time told me to always write down my accomplishments—be it classes I took or something someone told me that was profound. Since that day I have a file on my computer with all my updated trainings, classes and important conversations. When it is review time or when I give out reviews I always like to share those with people.

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

I was 22 when I became a supervisor of the Food Court at Montclair State University, so I had to overcome giving direction to employees who had worked at the university longer and were much older than myself. It was difficult. I literally would go home and cry almost every day for a year because of the challenges and pressures that I faced.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Nothing can replace the memories of laughter, tears and hard work that go into working in the hospitality industry. Besides that, the most rewarding is watching an employee figure out a how to solve a problem on their own.

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

I would like to continue my education and receive my MBA.

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

I was helping stock an open-air cooler full of premade yogurt parfaits, Jell-Os, puddings, sandwiches and salads. I dropped a full tray of strawberry Jell-0 on my brand new khaki pants. I didn’t have a spare set of pants and I couldn’t leave work because I would lose my prime parking spot.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources