Gourmet Dining Chefs take 1st and 2nd place in the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Region NACUFS Culinary Challenge
From Jersey Mike’s Newsletter:
We are excited to welcome Gourmet Dining LLC, a division of Compass USA, to the Jersey Mike’s family as they open three Jersey Mike’s on university campuses in New Jersey.
Rowan University and Kean University opened this week, and Monmouth University reopens next week under their management. At Rowan University located close to Philadelphia in Glassboro NJ, the cheese steaks have been flying off the grill to the delight of the students there. At Kean University in northern NJ, which offers only cold subs, there has been a line of 20 – 30 people deep to get a sub. We expect the same at Monmouth University when it reopens on Tuesday. Michael Frungillo, president of Gourmet Dining and a big Jersey Mike’s fan said, “I’m thrilled but not surprised by the fantastic response Jersey Mike’s is receiving on campus. It’s not just great subs, but also the training and support from the entire Jersey Mike’s team who helped bring enthusiasm, energy and excitement to the campuses.”
Wednesday, September 24th – Last week, Gourmet Dining and host campuses kicked-off the Follow the Frog Campaign featuring tasty Rainforest Alliance certified products like chocolate and coffee, and plush, cute frogs.
Follow the Frog is an initiative developed by Rainforest Alliance, a global non-profit that supports sustainable agriculture, tourism, and conservation. Gourmet Dining is proud to support the follow the frog initiative, aimed at college students to ask for and learn about Rainforest Alliance Certified Products on campus, to promote awareness for conservation efforts. The frog, as you can see in photos here, is the signature Rainforest Alliance stamp featured on certified products.
Follow the Frog day on campuses featured Student Government leaders, Ecology club members, Rainforest Alliance representatives and Gourmet Dining team members from chefs to dietitians. Peter Cabezas, Treasury official for the SGA at Seton Hall University said “It was great to be able to promote something on campus that is certified and proven to improve sustainability around the world, for the environment and for farmers. I think it makes students feel great that we can say our dining program is seeking out products and companies that are doing the right thing.”
Each campus chose a day to promote the effort with a Rainforest Alliance table and several product samplings. Over 80 students shared the #followthefrog mission by posting selfies with the frog and a Rainforest Alliance certified product!
All Gourmet Dining campuses currently sell 100% Rainforest Alliance certified bananas and coffee in all dining locations, except for Starbucks branded cafes, where a various certifed coffees are served. Rainforest Alliance Certified Lipton tea and Endangered Species chocolate bars are also available in many dining locations. Gourmet Dining plans to offer an expanded line of certified products in January 2014.
Love Food? So do we.
Join Gourmet Dining in the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign & Photo Contest
March 3rd, 2014
Contact: Julie Aiello. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever walked into the dining hall and been overwhelmed by the number of meals being served every day, and the resources it takes to make it happen? Have you wondered how much of the prepared food is eaten? And what happens to the rest?
Food waste is a hot topic, from college campuses to powerful organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Food waste is ubiquitous, and takes place on all levels of the supply chain from the field or ocean harvest to the processing plant to transportation to warehouse storage to the market and finally to the kitchen. End users at home and in dining facilities can also positively impact this issue in their own kitchens. The challenge to control food waste is so enticing because it promises many positive rewards. Recovering food waste provides triple bottom line opportunities:
1) Supports our communities by using food to feed people, not landfills
2) Reduces our environmental footprint, fresh water impact, and greenhouse gas emissions
3) Maximizes valuable resources like money and time to reinvest in products and programs we can fully utilize.
Love Food Hate Waste is Gourmet Dining’s spring campaign to increase awareness about food waste on campus and to inspire students to think creatively about meals in the dining hall. Similar campaigns across the U.S. and in Europe have already made significant impacts in their communities. Aligned with the EPA mission to raise awareness of the environmental, health and nutrition issues created by food waste, Gourmet launched the Love Food Hate Waste, with the goals to:
1) Create awareness among students and the campus community about food waste.
2) Engage students to think about building an intentional plate in the dining hall, to focus on nutrition, meal satisfaction and concurrently reduce food left on the plate in the dining hall.
3) Reduce food waste by 10% on campus.
We are building support for this campaign by embracing ways to “love food.” February featured heart healthy broccoli, exemplifying the varieties of broccoli and the myriad preparations including crunchy-sweet broccoli slaw, garlicky roasted broccoli parmesan and cool, creamy, protein enriched broccoli dips. As Chef Mark Dabundo ,of Kean University said, “At Gourmet, we love food and the opportunity to share that with students. It’s the most fun part of our job, to come up with new recipes and ways to encourage student’s taste palates to explore new preparations of traditional vegetables and foods they may have eaten their whole lives. Now they can re-experience them in a new way, like the broccoli slaw and broccoli hummus. ”
We hope you’re ready to spread the word about food initiatives on campus!
Beginning in March, we’re sponsoring the Love Food Hate Waste Photo Contest, to inspire students to build an intentionally planned, nutrition packed plate based on the My Plate guidelines. Many studies have demonstrated the connection between the presentation, color and appearance of food and its appetizing quality. Hence, mindfully building our plate to include a variety of deep rich colors from various food groups will create an appetizing and nutritious meal that will play a big role in improving our nutrition status while decreasing uneaten food waste. “Taking time to build our plate well can also help to avoid overloading on the first thing that might appeal to us when we’re hungry. Choosing to fill half our plate with vegetables and fruits will automatically leave less room for high calorie, high fat choices like too many slices of pizza or multiple burgers. This is a choice that will “pay it forward” to your next meals as well. The more fruit, vegetable and whole grain powered choices you choose at one meal will better supply you with time-release energy until the next meal. It can also help to maintain portion control, which is a key factor in the efforts to waste less food and to help maintain a healthy weight,” says Jenn Bostedo, RD, Corporate Dietitian for Gourmet Dining.
March is also National Nutrition Month, and to further expand the culinary and nutrient-rich “love food” component, we are featuring meals and highlighting key ingredients the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has received ample press over the last few years, from doctors and dietitians alike. Time and researched tested again and again, the Mediterranean Diet is known for its heart healthy traditional foods, on a base of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats. Each Monday we celebrate a feature Mediterranean vegetable, and each Thursday an entire Mediterranean inspired meal, including Greek, French and Italian. Our hope at Gourmet is to inspire students to learn more about the highly touted Mediterranean diet and to consider its benefit to their nutrition status and its ability to reduce food waste by highlighting sustainable foods.
What can a single student do? Get involved! Learn more about the Mediterranean diet, and building your plate. Participate in the photo contest, and enter to win one of three $50 gift cards for your mindfully planned plate. Students can submit multiple photos to their host institution Gourmet Dining facebook page, which can be found on our website: www.gourmetdiningllc.com. Dieititans Jenn Bostedo and Alexa McDonald are visiting campuses daily to explore with students how to maximize the build of their individual plates. They will also judge the winning plates entered in the photo contest. In addition to the top 3 winners, all students that submit a photo will be eligible to enter a raffle for fantastic and delicious Mediterranean themed prizes!
What is Gourmet doing? Behind the scenes at Gourmet we have a trifold approach to address the “hate waste” segment of our campaign. As trained culinary professionals, we are taking further initiatives to make sure we are:
- ordering and storing food efficiently
- carefully planning meals with attention to volume and ingredients required, providing high quality food with little waste
- when we can no longer utilize certain food products, we donate when possible and as a last step, compost.
This may translate into making soups utilizing good nutritious fresh ingredients available in the kitchen that might be underused for other applications. In our industry, fresh soup made from scratch with nearly any combination of vegetables and aromatics is a sign of a well-trained chef. While food handling practices are stringently observed, we will strive to further reduce of waste.
While we compost on some campuses, composting is still a challenge on an industrial level due to high volume of food waste and the compost industry’s capacity. It is our goal to have each institution we work with compost by September or 2015. We also have many partnerships with local community kitchens to donate prepared foods we can no longer utilize.
Together we can make a difference! As students, as food service professionals, and as a academic community, we have a great opportunity to create awareness and reduce food waste. Please contact Julie Aiello, Director of Marketing and Sustainable Development, for more information or to get involved in leading food initiatives with Gourmet Dining. You can email her at email@example.com. You can also email our dietitians with any questions or to set up a one-on-one complimentary consultation. Their contacts are:
Jenn Bostedo, RD – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexa McDonald RD – email@example.com
Stats to motivate you to make a difference:
- In 2010, we wasted 33.79 million tons of food in the US, enough to fill the Empire State Building 91 times. That’s 16% more waste than the previous decade.
- Meanwhile, 17.2 million US households were “food insecure,” meaning it was difficulty to provide enough food for everyone in the family.
- Getting food from farm to fork requires 80% of all fresh water, costs 10% of the U.S. energy budget and covers 50% of land yet 40% of all food goes uneaten.
Drink coffee with Gourmet Dining and taste the locally roasted, fresh ground coffee that is responsibly sourced from Columbia.
Gourmet Dining has partnered with Coffee Officionado and the Rainforest Alliance to source coffee that has a Rainforest Alliance Certification.
What is a Rainforest Alliance Certification?
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods by promoting and evaluating the implementation of the most globally respected sustainability standards in a variety of fields. Through RA-Cert, the Rainforest Alliance’s auditing division, we provide our forestry, agriculture and carbon/climate clients with independent and transparent verification, validation and certification services based on these standards, which are designed to generate ecological, social and economic benefits.
What does it mean for a farm to be certified?
Each year at Gourmet Dining, we work towards improving on our sustainability efforts.
We made this change by working with a local roasting company in Morganville, NJ called Coffee Officionado. They had a connection to a coffee grower that had already begun working towards Rainforest Alliance certification, and together we were able to implement this coffee on several of our campuses.
The new program, in turn, provides many new benefits in addition to serving Rainforest Alliance certified coffee.
The coffee is locally roasted and used within 1 week of roasting.
The coffee is ground fresh before each brewing cycle.
We’re working with a local company, supporting local business in NJ.
In the future, it is in our plan to partner with Coffee Officionado to host a trip for a small ground of students passionate about these issues to visit farms in Columbia and Panama.
Fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables were the focus of many meals this September.
Gourmet Dining’s Live Local & Lessons on Local Food
September is a colorful month in the northeast, abundant with late blooms of bright summer vegetables and the beginning harvest of hardy leafy greens and dense root vegetables. Recipes are as endless as the myriad vegetables, and in Gourmet Dining’s campus dining locations, this essence is captured by the community to bring local to the forefront.
This past September, “Live Local” was the chosen theme for Gourmet, intentionally highlighting the local produce availability in the garden state, and the company’s commitment to building their programs on the inherent freshness and practical reasons to source local, but also on the values of the local connection. Gourmet Dining, the foodservice provider for 10 college campuses in northern New Jersey and in New York, has placed a premium on sourcing locally since it’s inception, and in the last few years has lead the trend on campuses to connect students with real local food and to elevate the consciousness of their consumer, the college student. This is not just a vision for Gourmet, their customers are share their values too.
Greening missions, based on improving sustainability efforts are a hot topic on nearly every campus, and students in stride with Gourmet, are the driving force demanding sustainable dining. What is sustainable dining? Many think of composting, biodegradable packaging, and energy conservation. Yet, local food sourcing is an essential element of sustainable dining, in any environment, and connects us to our land, people and community beyond other initiatives.
The premium on local is about more than fresh food.
Local food affords us many advantages, four of which we find particularly relevant:
– Fresh, healthy, delicious food! One of the biggest drivers for sourcing locally among chefs, is of course, flavor. Produced picked within a day or two of being on the vine of a small or mid-size farm with rich soil is incomparable with food picked over a week ago on a large-scale farm. Every farm plays their roll, and we’re grateful for the large farms that fill our winter season with fresh food, but we’d rather eat locally!
– Connection to our geographic place, our land, and our season. With students traveling from across the country and the world, sourcing locally provides a tangible connection to the agriculture of our place, and provides us context and proper seasonal foods to complement our diet.
– Connection to people, community and farmers. There’s something about knowing your customer, and the supply chain from start to finish. Rather than organic as the defining characteristic of our foods, local, especially in our case, means we know the farms and farmers that supplied our food. As our society advances in technological ways, we can make up for loss of interpersonal connection by establishing that with the people with whom we work and live. Visiting beautiful, preserved farmland, establishing relationships with farmers and expressing our appreciation for their work, builds a stronger community to support our farms. Each year we travel to new farms and and existing supplier farms, to expand and strengthen our network.
– Local food on campus raises our collective consciousness about the influence we have as the consumer and the demand we can create for things we value. Additionally, it provides a context for college students to realize that businesses can and do succeed best by adopting sustainable decisions that are good for the customer and the community, and can also benefit the business. It’s a win for students, win for farmers, and win for business.
To engage fellow students and the community, Gourmet held local lunches and promoted local retail specials in their dining halls. Meals highlighted seasonal vegetables like butternut squash, kale, apples and more, and the farms they came from. Students also had the opportunity to express thanks to local farmers by signing the “thank you farmers” board. A handful of students are even taking a trip to farms to document the farm sources and bring photos and video back to campus to share with the community.
Together, Gourmet and students, professors and administration have built sustainable partnerships on many on their campuses. From implementing the Gourmet Campus Gardens program, to connect students to real food on campus and bridge the gap of what local food looks like, to composting programs, Rainforest Alliance certified coffee and other reusable and biodegradable measures.
Gourmet Dining takes home 2 of 4 Nationally Ranked Residential Dining Awards with New Host Campus Partners.
Top Notch Gourmet Dining Programs Honored by NACUFS.
May 1, 2013
Manhattan College Student Center
Gourmet Dining was recently recognized for their achievements in Residential Dining Programs by the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS). NACUFS awarded Gourmet with Silver Medal for the Manhattan College Program and 4th Place Award for the Caldwell College program in the category of dining programs serving up to 10,000 students. The recognition came shortly after the award of contracts at each respective location. Gourmet began at Caldwell in July 2010 and at Manhattan in June 2011.
“With our growth over the last three years, we believe we have really evolved as a company. We invested thoughtfully with big renovations focused on renewed modern ambiance and expansion of both dining facilities and capacities. We are very pleased with the success of the new locations, as their creation was a vision successfully defined by the college and Gourmet Dining, together. We are grateful to be recognized by NACUFS with these awards. It takes a sustained team effort to achieve the level of dining we provide and to garner recognition, and we believe everyone on our team has had a hand in making this happen,” said Anthony Frungillo, Vice President of Operations for Gourmet Dining.
NACUFS organization’s defied purpose is: “To foster exceptional campus dining programs through a passion for food and service and by leadership in education, professional development, networking, information exchange, and innovation in a culture of volunteerism.” Named for a NACUFS founder, past president and highly regarded innovator, the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards celebrate exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and new dining concepts, and provide an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations in campus dining services.
Upon visiting, there is no doubt that the Manhattan College Residential Dining Hall, otherwise know as “Locke’s,” is an exciting place to be. When one enters, the energy is palpable, with chefs making hand-tossed brick oven pizza, Free-Range rotisserie spindles turning, and students preparing creations in the “Home Kitchen,” among the many sights. Guests quickly learn they’ve come upon a unique place to dine on campus, one that doesn’t resemble you’re average college dining hall.
Gourmet Dining, a regional Northern New Jersey based, family owned and operated company established in 1987, has a strong focus on maintaining current programs and expanding “only where we feel there is a great fit,” says Ben Aiello, President and Co-Owner of Gourmet Dining. “We have a great niche in the college dining market as a regional, family-operated company. We have accounts we’ve partnered with for decades, that thrive today, and we’ve been able to grow and create award-winning accounts. While we have timeless concepts that drive our program, we’re not confined by menus, style or template programs. Our physical space and program offerings are uniquely designed to fit the style and the demand of the host institution, and NACUFS has recognized our success in 2 distinct dining locations.”
If you’re lucky enough to grab a bar seat and watch a restaurant-style tapas dish created at the Manhattan College Exhibition Bar, you’re sure to be in for a culinary feast for your eyes and your taste buds. This station is one of many interactive dining room stations, designed by Gourmet to engage students and “be a source of curiosity at every meal. We rarely repeat dishes, and incorporate nearly every cuisine from around the country and the globe,” says Frungillo. The range of make-your-own and show cooking stations at both Manhattan College and Caldwell College are arranged in various places throughout the dining hall, creating nook-style dining and allowing for varied seating and dining patterns of students. Many college diners know that dining in the same place everyday can have it’s challenges, and that’s why Gourmet designs a monthly calendar designed to give students several events per month that feature new healthy items, international cuisine, and even local features including artisanal products from the tri-state area.
While sustainable efforts were not targeted as judging criteria, Julie Aiello, Director of Marketing and Sustainable Development believes their commitment to a being a greener, socially conscious food service provider has provided a strong affinity with both students and award judges. “Our commitment to socially responsible living and dining were a core requirement in our service with both Manhattan College and Caldwell College. Students and administration alike were serious about learning which vendor would provide Free-Range and Cage-Free Eggs, support their Fair Trade mission, honestly support and procure from local farmers, among many other issues like providing substantive, healthy vegan and vegetarian fare. I think knowing that we’re a smaller company, and that we provide justification of what we do with farm visits, photos, videos and providing the real thing, which is excellent local food, strengthens our relationship with our customers in a profound way. Our commitment and success in sustainable efforts been translated into the success of our dining program and our NACUFS awards.” Aiello designs vegetarian, local menus and builds organic vegetable gardens on partner campuses. She sustainability hands-on awareness and education even above their specific programs, sighting their responsibility to convey real information about food sustainability to students in their formative college years.
These awards were Gourmet’s second and third awards from NACUFS, with their first award received just last year in the category of Best Small School Retail Concept. The third place award recognized Café 1853, an all-natural retail location at Manhattan College.
Links below to the sites indicating award winners and judging criteria.
14,115! That’s the total number of salads eaten during our March 2013 Eat Green Give Green Campaign! We far surpassed our target of 10,000 salads by our campus communities. Students and community members were encouraged to Eat Green during March, National Nutrition Month, and were thanked for demonstrating their commitment to healthy eating with a donation of an ounce of fresh produce to an organization providing fresh, healthy produce to communities to whom it would greatly benefit.
The winning organization is Team Walker with 2,881 votes from students across Gourmet Dining campuses in New Jersey and New York. Team Walker is a Jersey City based organization. The Team Walker mission is “To uplift and create positive alternatives for the youth of Jersey City through programs designed to enlighten participants and teach the importance of solid academics, teamwork and sportsmanship.” This mission is accomplished by providing effective after school academic and athletic programs that now include programs on wellness, with a focus on health & nutrition. We’re so excited to present Team Walker with 882 pounds of fresh produce. We love to support our local farmers, so we’ll aim to source as close to 100% of this produce locally. Team Walker will use this produce to serve the members of their community through the free farmers market. The Market is open to everyone the community, and asks that people volunteer to organize the event, promote healthy recipes, and do sample preparation at the market to demonstrate healthful preparations of produce. At least 200 pounds will be set aside for student use after school that week, for their snack preparations.
At Gourmet Dining, we feel like this campaign was a win-win! We introduced students to new salad creations, and encouraged healthy eating by giving back to our local community. Student comments were very positive, including that they liked the colorful aspect of the posters and the salads, which drew them to the salad bar and made them feel inclined to eat healthier. Students on many of our campuses know that we are a local company and that we make many efforts throughout the year to give back to our communities, and commended our efforts for doing so.
January 8, 2013.
Gourmet Dining has partnered with Plymouth Beef, a premier level-three certified beef company, for all ground beef purchases. That’s right, that means you can enjoy enjoy a juicy, made-to-order hamburger with superior taste and quality right here in your campus dining hall.
Plymouth Beef, based in Hunt’s Point, NY is a family owned business serving the beef industry for over 50 years. Plymouth is committed to providing the best quality meat in the industry. Producing and distributing in small batches, with a hard-earned level three certification in global food safety, there is little to doubt with Plymouth. Level 3 global food safety is difficult to achieve in the raw ground beef category and illustrates Plymouth Beef’s commitment to food safety over and above the regulatory requirements and that of their competitors.
To learn more, visit the Plymouth Beef Homepage.
Do you want to learn about healthy, safe and fun ways to be healthier and slimmer in the New Year? The Gourmet Dining Biggest Loser program is embarking on our third year of helping students and college communities reach their goals.
We invite YOU to participate in our 10-week Biggest Loser Program on college campuses across Northern New Jersey and New York City.
We even have some big-time prizes for our top 3 Biggest Losers on each campus! 1st Prize – $200, 2nd Prize – $125, 3rd Prize – $75. You must present for 3 three weigh-ins to be eligible for prizes.
We’ve added an additional incentive this year, which is our 1 Pound 1 Dollar program. Check it Out!
Biggest Loser Begins On Your Campus:
Caldwell – February 4th
Seton Hall University – February 5th
Kean University – February 6th
Bloomfield College – February 7th
New Jersey City University – February 11th
NJIT – February 12th
FDU Madison – February 13th
FDU Teaneck – February 19th
Bergen Community College – February 20th
Manhattan College – February 21st