UMass Amherst Ranks No. 1 in Campus Dining for Third Straight Year

UMass Dining’s chicken tikka slider, winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2017.
UMass Dining’s chicken tikka slider, winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2017.

AMHERST, Mass. –  For the third straight year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst ranks No. 1 for campus dining in the nation. The honor was revealed today by The Princeton Review as part of its ranking of the top 20 colleges in 62 different categories.

The announcement further bolsters UMass Dining’s reputation for serving up healthy, sustainable and delicious food prepared by award-winning chefs, says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst.

The university will be among the schools featured live on NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday, Aug. 7 between 10-11 a.m. On the “Today Show” segment, a chef from UMass Amherst will present hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with three popular dishes – sushi, mushroom blended chicken tikka sliders and local peach macarons. UMass Amherst serves about 4,000 hand-crafted sushi rolls a day, mostly made by student staff. The mushroom blended chicken tikka slider is so good it won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2017. And the local peach macarons are a student favorite.

“UMass Amherst has done the near impossible, earning the top spot on The Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food ranking list for the third year in a row,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “Deservedly so, as thousands of UMass students completed our student survey, telling our team about their experiences at UMass, academically and otherwise. UMass students have spoken – it’s their opinion that again underscores the superlative work UMass Dining and Auxiliary Services completes on their behalf. UMass Dining remains a leader and teacher in higher education. Well done, all!”

 “We are humbled and extremely grateful to be recognized as the Best Campus Food in the nation, three years in a row,” Toong says. “It speaks highly of our program and the passion of our staff in serving healthy, sustainable and delicious food, one meal at the time. We’re serving more than just food, we strive to create memorable dining experiences and to enrich the quality of campus life. Our thanks go to our chancellor and the entire UMass community, especially our students who support us daily. We’re UMass proud.”

“UMass Dining’s outstanding food is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our dining services staff and the leadership of Ken Toong,” says Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “Providing our campus community with healthy, sustainable and delicious food while continuously raising the bar is not an easy feat, and we are very proud of this well-deserved recognition.”

Rankings of the top 20 schools in 62 categories were posted online today at and will be included in the company’s 2019 edition of “The Best 384 Colleges,” which goes on sale Aug. 7. The rankings are based on surveys of 138,000 students at the schools in the guide.

UMass Dining is the largest college dining services operation in the country, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. Since 1999, overall participation the university’s meal plan has more than doubled from 8,300 participants to more than 19,200.

A self-operated program committed to providing a variety of healthy world cuisines using the most sustainable ingredients, UMass Dining incorporates recipes from accomplished chefs and nutritionists as well as principles from the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health to its cycle menu. UMass Dining is known for being among the most honored collegiate dining programs in America by many national organizations. For the past several years, UMass Dining has been selected to The Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food list. Previously, it was ranked No. 10 in 2012, No. 3 in 2013 and 2014, and No. 2 in 2015 and 2016, and No. 1 in 2017 and 2018.