AMHERST, Mass. - FoodService Director magazine has named Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, to its inaugural list of the "20 Most Influential" people and organizations having an impact on the non-commercial foodservice industry.
Toong joins First Lady Michelle Obama, the Culinary Institute of America, suppliers, educators and several school and college food service directors on the list, which was compiled by the editors ofFoodService Director, based on recommendations from the magazine’s advisory board and other respected individuals in the industry. The honorees will be profiled in the magazine’s June issue.
"We wanted to identify, and acknowledge, those people who truly are making a difference in the world our readers inhabit," said editor Paul King. "These are individuals and groups who make their presence felt in so many ways, some of which are readily apparent and others not so visible but powerful nonetheless."
"I am honored to be included on the list," said Toong. "I would like to thank the students, staff and the management team who often provide me with feedback and support, to make our dining program as one of the best in the nation. UMass is a great place to be innovative as we strive to be in the top tier of public research institutions in the country. It is gratifying that other schools are implementing some of our programs and collectively, we are raising the bar of campus dining."
Toong came to UMass Amherst in 1998 as director of Dining Services. Since that time, the reputation of campus’s dining halls has gained national stature. Earlier this year, UMass Dining Services earned its first top-10 ranking in the Princeton Review and was honored at the White House for supporting the Permaculture Garden at Franklin Dining Commons, a student-led initiative aimed at promoting sustainability.
Under Toong, Dining Services has been honored nationally and statewide for supporting local agriculture, good nutrition, sustainable food production and green cleaning practices. Promotional activities, such as theme dinners, appearances by guest chefs, healthy eating campaigns, cooking classes for juniors and seniors, and the annual Taste of UMass have earned Dining Services a long list of awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services and trade publications including Produce Business, Fare, Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants and Institutions and FoodService Director. Dining Services also propelled UMass Amherst into the Guinness Book of World Records by producing the world’s largest sushi roll in 2010 and a record-setting 4,010-pound stir fry last September.