UMass Amherst Dining Services Builds Up Steam to Set Record for World’s Largest New England Clambake


DATE:           Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

TIME:            Starts 4 p.m., Guinness World Record certification at 6 to 6:30 p.m.

PLACE:         Haigis Mall, Massachusetts Avenue, UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst’s Dining Services will attempt to break its fifth consecutive world record by serving more than 3,000 people a New England clambake with all the trimmings on Monday afternoon, Sept. 1, at Haigis Mall, as part of “Welcome to UMass Amherst” festivities for students.

Among the goals for attempting this record, says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises, are supporting the resiliency of the New England food system by using as much locally sourced food as possible and building a sense of community with delicious food as the new school year begins.

There is no previous record for a largest New England clambake, but Guinness officials have set the minimum bar at serving 1,500 clambakes in eight hours. UMass Amherst plans to serve 3,000 in two hours, says Christopher Howland, UMass Amherst’s Auxiliary Enterprises director of purchasing and marketing. “We’ll have 100 pots boiling at one time, between the seafood and potatoes,” he says.

Each UMass Amherst Dining Services’ world record has been fully supported by donations and sponsors, and this year’s total sponsorship at over $70,000 is the most ever raised. Over 3,000 lobsters averaging 1.25 pounds each, 6,000 little neck clams and 3,000 steamers are being supplied at cost from New England fisheries. Hundreds of pounds of potatoes plus ingredients for a fresh Asian slaw salad are from Pioneer Valley growers. A cranberry-apple crisp dessert from Massachusetts fruit growers will also be served. Meals will be made to order, making this a no-waste event.

Leading the effort with Howland will be Executive Chef Willie Sng, with Chefs de Cuisines Matthia Accurso, Robert Bankert and Anthony Jung, along with Garrett DiStefano, residential dining director. As many as 200 volunteers, who get a free T-shirt and meal, are expected to help with setup, cooking, serving and cleanup. For those who do not eat seafood, a barbecue will offer a blended beef-mushroom burger, barbecued chicken, veggie burger, clam chowder, grilled salmon salad, grilled corn on the cob and dessert.