Top Notch Gourmet Dining Programs Honored by NACUFS.
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.
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