UMass Amherst Chef Earns Top Honors in Culinary Competition

Robert Bankert
Chef Robert Bankert at the NACUFS competition.

Chef de cuisine Robert Bankert continued UMass Dining Services’ winning tradition as he secured first place in the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Northeast Region Culinary Challenge on March 13 in Groton, Conn.

His win propels him into the national competition in Nashville, Tenn., in July, where he will compete with the winners of the five other NACUFS regions.

“The competition was tough, but it was great to see the path that all competitors took to create their unique dish,” Bankert said. “I want to thank the team at UMass Dining for giving me the opportunity and support leading up to, and during the competition.”

His winning dish, pork loin wrapped with porcini farce and confit fat cap, polenta, braised wild mushrooms and kale, skillet roasted fennel and apricot glaze, bested chefs from nine other universities including, Yale, Harvard and the University of Connecticut.

“We are extremely proud of Chef Bankert and his accomplishment,” said Ken Toong, executive director of UMass Auxiliary Enterprises. “He is a very talented chef and exemplifies the great things that are happening at UMass and in the college and university dining segment. We are all UMass Proud.”