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Greetings from Dennis Pierce, Director of Dining Services

 

Welcome to the Spring 2014 Semester


“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

- MARK TWAIN


UConn Dining Services is more than a department that serves in excess of 180,000 meals per week. One of its core missions comes in the form of education. As I am writing this column our department is getting ready for a week of workshops. Tomorrow starts with a screening of the documentary called The Fruit Hunters. Tuesday we have an all-day event featuring a multitude of educational sessions. Thursday we will host our 14th annual Culinary Competition, an event where our staff compete in the morning with their own recipes and later in the afternoon, break down into teams and compete in an event called "Boiling Point". This annual event is based on the Food Network’s Iron Chef. Did you know that several years ago the Food Network heard about our program and filmed it and later featured it on their Sunday night program?

Our education is not centered on just one week. Our employees attend training throughout the year in order to be Serve Safe certified. This qualifies them to be qualified food operators. The State of Connecticut requires that each food service establishment have one certified food handler on each shift. When this requirement was made law UConn Dining rose to a higher standard. We want all of our employees to be certified. While this is a difficult task we are able to provide continual education with six staff members who are certified instructors.

While we are always working on continuing internal education, our daily offerings expose UConn students to new and interesting recipes. Last year, when we opened our new facility at McMahon, we created an international theme. Many of our offering are traditional ethnic dishes. These provide a culinary education for those that dine there.

External to our department we provide many culinary educational opportunities. For many years our department has sponsored a culinary class called, "You Can Cook". This popular class has a waiting list every year. Because this has been so successful, during the summer we also provide a cooking camp for tweens. Last year we added a new camp focusing on food preparation for individuals that are gluten intolerant.

Whereas providing food service to the UConn Community is a huge task, we also take the opportunity to collaborate with university departments. Each semester students from Allied Health gain practical, hands-on experience working side by side with our management team. This experience prepares them as they choose their career path when leaving the university.

I share all of these examples to show that as a department we are very much interlinked with the university’s educational mission. Take a look at this semester’s UCuisine and you will see the results of a collaboration with Dining Services and the School of Fine Arts. Students were given recipes from our Recipes from Home program and they graphically interpreted the recipes to create the content for this issue.

Lastly, to keep in touch with Dining and the services we offer, please utilize this guidebook, our UCusine. If one is not available, because we will be printing fewer copies as usual, you can find all of our information on our website www.dining.uconn.edu.

Eat well, enjoy life and pursue your dreams,

C. Dennis Pierce
Director of Dining Services


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