Sebastian Nieto of Rutgers University prepares his award winning entrèe.
Diane Hardy, director of dining services at the University of Richmond, is honored with the Minah Award (above). Norm Hill, former director of dining services at the University of Tennessee, is named NACUFS distinguished lifetime member (below).
National Association of College and University Food Services members treated themselves to flaming Bananas Foster, Cajun-spice boiled crawfish and chicory coffee and beignets while networking with peers and attending a host of educational sessions at the NACUFS annual conference in New Orleans in July.
During the day, they learned effective financial benchmarking techniques, explored the intricacies of project management and cheered their top chefs at the organization's annual culinary competition. During breaks they looked for marketing and program ideas while reviewing the scores of entries on display for the Loyal Horton Dining Awards contest. In the evenings, they strolled past the antique shops on Royal Street, enjoyed boat rides on the Mississippi and took streetcar tours of the Garden District.
But mostly, they networked: with each other, with key suppliers among the 310 booths at the Showcase exhibit hall and with the NACUFS presenters, officers and conference organizers who make the annual conference the premier educational meeting of its type in the college/university segment.
Association business was carried on as well: Sharon Coulson, foodservice director at UCDavis, took the helm as incoming NACUFS president, and Russ Meyer, associate director of housing operations and dining servicesat the University of Nevada-Reno, was installed as presidentelect. Mark Kraner, director of contracted auxiliary services at Louisiana State University is the new secretary/treasurer and Ted Mayer, executive director of dining services at Harvard University, will be the 2006 conference chair and will also serve on the board of directors.
NACUFS' top member recognition, the Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, was presented to Diane (Dee) Hardy, director of dining services at University of Richmond, in recognition for her enduring contributions to the industry and the association. The organization's Distinguished Lifetime Member award went to Norm Hill, the former director of dining services at the University of Tennessee.
Sister Maureen Schrimpe, quality coordinator of dining services at the University of Maryland, and Cameron Schauf, director of dining services at the University of Rochester, each received a Richard Lichtenfelt Award for outstanding service to the organization. From industry, Bill Schlobohm, category development manager for Nestlè FoodServices, was the recipient of NACUFS' Daryl Van Hook Industry Award.
Finally, Sebastion Nieto, catering manager at Rutgers University, was awarded first place in the annual NACUFS Culinary Challenge, after a hotly contested demonstration heat with five other NACUFS chef finalists. Sanctioned as a K4 competition by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the event is highly competitive, scrupulously judged and always a highlight of the conference. Nieto's winning entree: Medallions of Lamb with Quince and Malbec Sauce, Polenta with Root Vegetables, Swiss Chard, and Poached Asian Pears.