OCH CoverOn-Campus Hospitality



More Cheers In Boston


In any given year, the occasion of the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) National Conference is a reason for celebrating all that is good in our industry. But this year, there is even more to celebrate.

For the second time in three years — and only the third time in its 57-year history — we can celebrate the fact that the recipient of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Gold Plate award — Mary Molt, assistant director of housing and dining services at Kansas State University (K-State) in Manhattan — came from the college and university category. As all of you who know her can agree, Mary is truly deserving of the honor; and we congratulate her.

Fittingly, the conference is taking place in Boston, where the famous TV show “Cheers” — the bar where “Everybody knows your name” — was set. Undoubtedly, everyone will know Mary's name this year, and if you see her there, make sure you congratulate her for a job well done — and for being one of the shining examples of the great people who work in college dining.

The award is a testament that the rest of the foodservice industry is taking notice of the great work the college and university segment is doing — the same kind of recognition that we have called for on this page many times.

It is also fitting that Timothy Dietzler, director of dining services at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and recipient of the 2010 Gold Plate, will take the reins as NACUFS president at the conference.

While the spotlight will be on Mary at this year's conference, at least one other college and university industry member is putting a national spotlight on the culinary skills prevalent in the segment this summer.

Patrick Cassata, executive chef with Bon Appetit Management Co. at Wheaton College in Illinois, and the subject of this month's Compliments to the Chef profile, is a competing chef on the Fox Television show Hell's Kitchen, which premiered June 4. Cassata already oversees the culinary end of things at Wheaton, which was named the No. 1 college and university foodservice operation in the Princeton Review 2012 student survey.

We hope that his experience will allow him to do well in the pressure-cooker environment on Hell's Kitchen — and not get yelled at too much by notoriously short-tempered celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

If he does well in the competition, it will add another notch in college and university dining's belt of accomplishments for the last few years — and will be another sign that the world is finally taking notice of the great happenings and people on college and university campuses.