North Carolina State University: Southern food with a twist

Published in Menu Strategies

From Almond Board of California.

It’s not difficult to find traditional Southern dishes at North Carolina State University—after all, a vast majority of the university’s students come from North Carolina. But according to Randy Lait, senior director of hospitality services, a growing number of menu items blend old-school Southern with on-trend flavors.

According to Lait, today’s students have a much more adventurous palate because of early exposure to cuisines and food from around the world, and the university’s menu reflects that. "You’ll certainly find traditional versions of dishes like fried chicken, pulled pork, mashed potatoes and biscuits,” he says. “But with other menu items, we’ve tried to take Southern food and give it something interesting, like using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes or adding jalapeño to cornbread.”

Lait and his staff also scratch-make many Southern favorites, such as house-smoked pulled pork, and use that to create other innovative menu items, including a barbeque pork flatbread. Additionally, they’re very focused on offering healthful versions of classic dishes, such as menuing meat without gravies, oven-frying rather than deep-frying and serving local greens and roasted vegetables. “Healthful has been part of our scheme overall,” says Lait.

Menu Sampler: North Carolina State University

  • BBQ Pork Sandwich: house smoked pork, cole slaw & eastern NC BBQ sauce
  • Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla
  • Edamame Succotash
  • Howling Cow Banana Pudding Ice Cream

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
chicken tetrazzini bowl

The No Whey station in the main dining hall at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., offers students meals that are free of the eight most common allergens. When Brittany Parham, the dietitian who oversees the station, polled food-sensitive students on which favorites they missed most, “comfort foods” was the overwhelming response. Parham, who herself has food allergies, worked with chefs on the 20,000-student campus to focus on allergen-free versions of pasta bakes, biscuits, banana bread and other down-home dishes. Recently, the chefs reworked the school’s traditional chicken...

Ideas and Innovation
university chicago medical center renovation workers

As The University of Chicago Medical Center prepared for the revamp of one of its kitchens to feed an additional 202 patients, it wasn’t just foodservice executives coming to the table to make decisions. The process, which began in fall 2014, involved hourly employees from the ground up, says Daryl Wilkerson, vice president of support services. “They actually helped build this [kitchen], which is why I think this is so spectacular,” he says. “Normally what you’ll get in a lot of projects is senior people sitting around in shirts and ties making decisions.”

The hospital follows the...

Ideas and Innovation
idea bulb innovation concept

There’s no feeling quite like the “spark of inspiration” that Dawn Aubrey , associate director of housing for dining services at the University of Illinois, cites in this month’s Steal This Idea-themed cover story. That rush of blood and endorphins to the brain when everything comes together is like nothing else, and often finds me falling over furniture because I’m so excited to start putting plans into action. Unfortunately, I also bruise easily.

Throughout this issue, we’ve highlighted stealable ideas in all realms of noncommercial foodservice, from protein-focused sides to...

FSD Resources