National magazine honors CU-Boulder cuisine achievements

By Staff

Operating 13 venues at CU-Boulder, Housing and Dining Services has excelled in the development of facilities, the cultivation of culinary talent and culture, and the broadening of operational efficiencies. Such success has earned it the “Best of Show” honor from Food Management magazine in the publication’s 2011 “Best Concept” competition.

The national magazine for the noncommercial food service industry also gave CU-Boulder’s year-old Center for Community building the “Best New Facility” award. The Center for Community provides patrons not only with food but also with international and cultural experiences in a sustainably built space styled after a street market. The 900-seat dining hall offers freshly prepared fare, including Asian, Italian, halal and kosher-compliant dishes, at nine micro-restaurants.

“Dining Services acknowledges the opportunity we have to connect with our guests through quality service and unique offerings,” said Dining Services Director Amy Beckstrom. “We’re very proud of these accolades from Food Management, which recognize the commitment of our staff to elevate university food service for our community.”

Winners of the “Best Concept” awards are featured in the August issue of Food Management and will be honored at the magazine’s annual IDEAS Conference in late September in Grapevine, Texas.

CU-Boulder Dining Services dishes out about 2.5 million meals per year to students, faculty, staff, community members and visitors. It has implemented a number of initiatives in recent years that have garnered praise from Food Management and other publications and organizations.

Dining Services has developed and implemented a nationally recognized labeling program that identifies eight top food allergens – eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, soy and wheat – and gluten in the menu items served at its venues. The program is called the A9 Allergen Project.

In July 2010, Dining Services was one of eight national recipients and the only university food service program to receive an Achievement of Excellence award from the American Culinary Federation. Reflected in this award is Dining Services’ ongoing commitment to culinary development, providing training and support for its chefs to connect with diners through expertly crafted authentic foods, Beckstrom said.