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On-Campus Hospitality

Highlights of the NOVEMBER 2014 Issue


The New School Creates a True ‘University Center’


When The New School in New York City was planning to open its first University Center, the school, and its dining partner Chartwells, had a number of goals in place for the facility.

“University Center — that really is quite literal,” said Edward Verdi, senior director of Business Operations at The New School. “It really has become the center of the university. Being an urban campus, we wanted especially to build a gathering place. The evolution of the facility was the university attempting to bring together programs of various natures, in design, social research and creative and performing arts. We really wanted to design a space that would lead to collaborations between all of those various scholars and students, and give them opportunities to create interdisciplinary programs and projects and so on. The building is actually a culmination of efforts that were academically initiated, and a space to foster those kinds of collaborations.”

Like any space on a college campus that is intended to be a gathering place, food service is a key aspect in its design. “Prior to this, the food service was located in small locations in academic buildings — a relatively minor presence, tending to be trafficked by the occupants of that particular building,” he said. “This is the first time the food service has become a destination. One of the great successes of the building is that it lent to that sense of community and gathering, and we are seeing more than ever before that the foodservice space is really becoming a social space, not only for students, but for faculty and staff and so on. It is one of the great achievements of the operation.”

The largest foodservice aspect of the new facility is the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Dining Commons on the second floor. “It is a full-service cafeteria,” said Verdi. “In our first semester, we served approximately 3,000 guests a day. It has multiple stations within the servery space, and a beautiful open dining room.” ...



UConn’s Robert Landolphi — The Gluten-Free Chef


UConnís Robert Landolphi ó The Gluten-Free ChefChef Robert Landolphi, manager of Culinary Development at the University of Connecticut (UConn) in Storrs, literary wrote the book on gluten-free cooking — three of them, actually.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., Landolphi opened the Sugar Shack, a bakery café on the outskirts of the UConn campus. “When I purchased the bakery, I wanted it to be our family business, more or less,” he said. “I figured that would be my place for the rest of my life. My wife, who was at grad school at UConn, and working at the bakery from the period of 1996-2000, became very ill, and we couldn’t figure out why.”

It turned out that she has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people, in which the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) leads to damage in the small intestine, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. “Here I was; I owned this bakery, and it was one of those things where I had to make a big decision,” said Landolphi. “It really wasn’t going to be a family business anymore because she couldn’t take part in it. I made the decision to put it up for sale. At that time, I took an assistant manager position with UConn Dining Services.”

While initially working at UConn, where he has been for 14 years, he began researching the gluten-free diet his wife was now starting. “Being that there were no drugs that she could take, it was just adherence to the diet. I wanted to figure out the whole gluten-free thing,” he said. “I dove in and started doing it on my own at home cooking for my wife.” ...

After two years at UConn, Dennis Pierce, currently the director of UConn Dining Services and associate director at the time, was looking for someone on staff who knew anything about celiac disease because two new students with the disease were starting on campus. “I said that I had been living in a gluten-free house for two years and that I knew quite a bit about it,” said Landolphi. “We sat down with those two students back then and met their needs. At that time, those two students were living in a freshmen dorm. We took that one facility and said, ‘Let’s go through the menu and look what is naturally gluten-free that we are already serving.’ It took a lot of work.” ...


THE BACK PAGE: What If? By Kerry Paterson, CEC


What if? By Kerry Paterson, CECHave you ever been in a situation where you’re happy with your current position and the ideas you have been working on for a number of years are finally taking root and making a difference? It’s all coming together. The strong team you built and the program you have envisioned together is starting to bloom and the successes are unfolding. You’re finally at a time to take a step back and look at the things you’ve set in place and see what they are achieving. You can finally smile and be proud of this team and what they’ve done, and see the advancement they have each made personally. Life is good and you love your job.

And then, one day, a position opening comes across your desk that makes you stop and think. An opportunity that makes you go, “Hmmm. I wonder. What if?”

Well that happened to me just over a year ago. After 13 years at the University of Colorado - Boulder, I’d advanced my career to the position of assistant director of Dining: Culinary Operations/Executive Chef when suddenly the director of Residential Dining & Catering position at Oregon State University (OSU), University Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) arrived in my inbox.

Over the next week or so, this same position came to me from three or four different sources. It made me stop and think. Is this a sign? Again, “Hmmm. I wonder. What if?” kept spinning through my head.

I found myself applying and a few months later the “What if?” fast forwarded into my decision to accept the position.

One of the first things to address after the initial introduction period was over were ways to strategize my transition into the new organization. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your appointment, you either have to “hit the road running” from the very first day or, like in my case, have the luxury of coming into a strong program that wasn’t broken, but ready to go to the next level. This allowed me to obtain an oversight of the new operation before having to decide on a strategic direction. ...

Read the complete WHAT IF? BY KERRY PATTERSON , CEC ...



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