AMHERST, Mass. – UMass Dining Services has begun collaborating with world-renowned chef and author Jehangir Mehta with the launching of the Chef Jehangir Pledge that began in early February. Mehta was on campus Feb. 10-11 to personally oversee the new pledge program.
Operating from the Chef’s Table in the Blue Wall at the UMass Amherst Campus Center, the program will take place beginning every Thursday, but will expand to other days of the week later in the semester. Diners are being challenged to take a Pledge of the Day and pledges range from reducing food waste to increasing physical activity throughout the day. The overall goal of the Chef Jehangir Pledge is to promote practices that create better global citizens and increase actions supporting sustainability, social responsibility, health and wellness as well as building community, he says.
Inspired by his culinary journeys, Mehta explains, “Pledge is a mission on the move. Pledge is doing your part today to improve the tomorrows to come. Pledge by Jehangir showcases my 100-percent commitment to reduce 360 degrees of food waste and revolutionize the perception of food.”
In addition to the daily pledge, this initiative will highlight a unique handcrafted and healthy menu that features gleaned and harvest ingredients, local sustainable seafood, under-loved produce, lean sustainable proteins, vegetable-forward main courses and healthy grains. This menu, where possible, will come from ultra local partners and farmers.
Van Sullivan, manager at the Blue Wall, has been involved with the development of the concept since the first day and says he is excited about the possibilities. Sullivan says, “Seeing it take shape and develop is really amazing. Guests are getting the concept immediately and the energy is contagious. We’ve hit this nerve in the community and found a way to bridge food and sustainability in a way that’s really working.”
Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises, says the pledge concept provides UMass Dining with a platform to work with customers to make our world a better place. “It is exciting and it might change how America eats now and in the future.”
UMass Amherst Dining Services is the largest college dining program in the United States with 19,200 students on the meal plan and serving 45,000 meals per day and 6,000,000 meals annually. Currently UMass Dining serves 30 percent local produce, 100 percent sustainable seafood, 100 percent antibiotic-free chicken, 100 percent cage-free eggs and is leading the charge in plant-forward menu ideation.
To learn more, visit www.UMPledge.com or to join the conversation, follow UMass Dining on Facebook or Twitter and use #UMPledge.