UMass Dining Strikes Gold for Fifth Year in a Row

Chefs Best Teams from 21 Colleges and Universities in Cooking Competition
Winning chefs, from left, Anthony Jung, Matthia Accurso, Alanna Davies and Robert Bankert. Photo by Keith Toffling

AMHERST, Mass. – UMass Dining took gold for the fifth year in a row at the American Culinary Federation sanctioned competition held during the 21st annual Tastes of the World Culinary Conference held June 7-12 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Chefs Robert Bankert, Anthony Jung, Matthia Accurso and Alanna Davies competed against 21 other culinary teams from across the United States and Canada. The competition was sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and featured the top culinarians in college and university dining. Schools such as Harvard University, Virginia Tech, University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley used arctic char, local chicken, flap-steak, and local produce to create their dishes.      

The UMass team’s winning four-course meal consisted of pan seared arctic char with peach sabayon, pickled beets and sautéed greens on a bed of crispy quinoa; stuffed chicken with roasted red pepper-mizouna mousseline, braised chicken-mushroom agnolotti, brussels sprouts, bacon and pan jus; strawberry-honey mango tart with hazelnut crust, chantilly and strawberry reduction; and finally, a marinated flap steak for buffet service, served with potato hash, green beans, broccoli slaw and chimichurri.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our culinary team,” said Ken Toong, executive director of UMass Auxiliary Enterprises. “Their work reflects highly on our program and our university. We will put their award-winning dishes on our menu to help achieve our goal of providing the campus with food that is healthy, sustainable and delicious.”         

The Chef Culinary Conference focused on accelerating food service concepts into the next generation – one that embraces health, sustainability and food ethics to meet the increasing diversity of consumer preferences. Featured presenters included bestselling author and New York Times food journalist Mark Bittman, the Food Network’s Jet Tila, Walter Willet of Harvard University School of Public Health and Eric Wendorff of Wegmans Food Markets. Nearly 400 chefs and food service directors from the U.S. and Canada attended, making this year’s conference the largest in its 21-year history.

Contact: Daniel J. Fitzgibbons, 413/545-0444,

                Tripper O’Mara, 413/545-1504,