AMHERST, Mass. – Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named one of six winners of the 2008 Restaurants and Institutions magazine Ivy Awards, one of the oldest and most-coveted awards in the food service industry. Besides UMass Amherst, award winners this year include top restaurants in Chicago, New York, California and Las Vegas as well as a hospital in Texas.
“This is the award that every dining establishment would love to have,” says Ken Toong, director of Dining Services. “It’s especially meaningful because it means UMass Amherst has been recognized by its peers for being one of the best in the business.”
Every year, past Ivy recipients nominate several restaurants, hotels and noncommercial operations for the award. The winners are then selected based on votes from the R&I subscription pool of 154,000 trade professionals, making the Ivy a prestigious symbol of acknowledgment from the food service industry.
The award recognized UMass Amherst Dining Services as “a model for contemporary campus food service,” citing its guest-chef program, multiple dining stations, use of global cuisine and commitments to local food sources and sustainable farming. It says, “The university’s dining services department is educating students about health, nutrition and environmental responsibility while introducing them to a world of foods and flavors.”
The Ivy Award is the most recent in a series of honors received by UMass Amherst for excellence in food service. In 2007, the National Association of College and University Food Services awarded the UMass Amherst campus the Loyal E. Horton Dining Contest grand prize in the category of Residential Dining Program. The campus also won the Best Concepts Award from Food Management magazine in 2007.
The winners of this year’s Ivy Awards will be featured in the May 1 issue of R&I magazine and will attend a gala awards dinner during the National Restaurant Association Show in May. At the dinner, the winners will be inducted as members for life into the Ivy Society, which was founded in 1971.