AMHERST, Mass. – Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named a winner of a 2013 Silver Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) in the colleges and universities category.
Now in its 59th year, the awards program recognizes excellence in eight segments of foodservice operations. From among the winners, one will be named the 2013 IFMA Gold Plate Award winner at the annual Gold & Silver Plate Celebration on May 20 in Chicago.
“The awards allow us to pay tribute to these outstanding individuals whose contributions advance their individual segments and the foodservice industry as a whole,” said Larry Oberkfell, IFMA president and CEO, IFMA.
Hundreds of nominations from IFMA members were considered by a jury including national trade press editors, foodservice experts, past award winners and the chairperson of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society.
“I am so proud to work at this great university and the support I have received has been instrumental in getting us where we are today,” said Toong. “This award is really for the UMass Auxiliary team. I am grateful to every one of them for making this honor possible. We will continue to get even better.”
Past IFMA Gold and Silver Plates have been awarded to Dave Thomas of Wendy’s, Steve Ells of Chipotle, Mary Molt of Kansas State University and Ted Balestreri, chairman and CEO of Cannery Row Company.
Toong came to UMass Amherst in 1998 as director of Dining Services. Since that time, the reputation of the campus’s dining halls has gained national stature. In 2012, UMass Dining Services earned its first top-10 spot for “Best College Food” in The Princeton Review’s The Best 377 Collegesand is currently ranked No. 3 nationally by the education services company.Dining Services was also honored at the White House for supporting the Permaculture Garden at Franklin Dining Commons, a student-led initiative aimed at promoting sustainability, and FoodService Director magazine named Toong to its inaugural list of the “20 Most Influential” people and organizations having an impact on the non-commercial foodservice industry.
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, a record-setting 4,010-pound stir fry in 2011 and the largest seafood stew in 2012.