UMass Amherst Dining Services Honored by Two Food Service Industry Magazines

AMHERST, Mass. – Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has added two more honors to its plate with awards from Food Management and Produce Business magazines.

Dining Services won “Best of Show” in Food Management’s 2008 “Best Concepts” awards competition and also captured the 20th Annual Marketing Excellence Award presented by Produce Business.

The “Best of Show” award recognizes the dining program offered by UMass Amherst and the efforts of Ken Toong, director of dining and retail services, and his team to develop a strong culinary culture and to support similar initiatives in other schools across the country through the school’s annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference. Now in its 14th year, the conference has served to inspire a national culinary peer group of campus chefs and has become a premier networking, educational and competitive event for the campus dining community, according to Food Management.

The awards will be featured in a special editorial section of the August issue of Food Management and will be presented at the magazine’s annual IDEAS Conference Oct. 28-30 at the Red Rock Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas.

Produce Business cited UMass Amherst Dining Services for revolutionizing the way the produce industry connects products to both the trade and consumers. According to the magazine, one of the prime examples was Blueberry Week (Feb. 23-29), which featured a range of blueberry recipes served to 13,500 students on the meal plan as well as educational sessions on the benefits of consuming blueberries.

“We are pleased to recognize the marketing trailblazer such as UMass for their service to the produce industry and beyond,” said Kenneth L.Whitacre, publishing director at Produce Business.

“It is an exciting time for UMass Amherst Dining Services and we are honored to receive these prestigious awards,” said Toong. “Our dining program will continue to excel; I think the best is still yet to come.”

Earlier this year, Dining Services won two other national honors: the Ivy Award from Restaurant and Institutions magazine and the Loyal E. Horton Award from the National Association of College and University Food Services.