UConn’s UCann Cook Camps Educate and Delight Local Children
Storrs, CT: July can be a much slower month in university foodservice operations as staff takes much needed vacations and chefs and managers regroup and plan for the upcoming fall semester. Not so at UConn’s Department of Dining Services. July is a month of food, fun and kids - kids cooking camps, to be more exact.
For the third year in a row, UConn’s Department of Dining Services presented UCann Cook Camp 101, and UCann Cook Camp 102. Created and designed for children ages 10-13 years of age, three full days of food prep, cooking, baking and field trips educate, excite and encourage kids to enter the world of culinary arts.
Facilitated by award winning Chef Rob Landolphi, Culinary Coordinator for UConn Dining Services, both camps ran on Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30am – 4:00pm during two different weeks in July. Held at Gelfenbien Dining facility on the UConn Storrs campus, Rob and his dedicated team of dining unit managers, assistant managers and chefs taught one-one-one, hands-on cooking skills to eager participants. Ryan, an attendee at Camp 101, was very pleased with his experience.
"All of the chefs were very nice. Pretty much everything that we cooked was a hands-on thing and fun to make. And the chefs made sure you understood stuff, they wouldn't just say it."
The UCann Cook camps offer an opportunity for kids to expand their knowledge of different foods available from the local community and how to cook a variety of different recipes. While Camp 101 is designed for those will little or no experience in the kitchen, Camp 102 is designed for children with basic cooking skills, and/or those that had previously taken Camp 101. For some, such as Jarrod, this was their third time attending camp.
"Our son Jarrod loves cooking camp. He goes with five of his soccer friends and this is their third year. Every year they cook dinner for all the parents after the last day. This year they made calzones. It’s wonderful to see them so excited to see how things are made and to have them try new foods they would not normally try at home. We can't wait for our younger son to be old enough to attend!"
Every one of the three days at both camps was filled with new sights, sounds and smells in and out of the kitchen. Field trips to local farms and businesses comprised at least half of each camper’s day. A tour of UConn’s student-run Spring Valley Farm, located several miles from the main campus, was enjoyed by all of the campers. The local, sustainable food initiative is very active at UConn and the farm provides UConn students the opportunity to participate in sustainable, organic agriculture. Produce grown on the farm is used in the on-campus dining units and restaurants run by Dining Services.
The UConn Dining Services "Not Just Desserts" Bakery and the UConn Dairy Bar were favorite trips for all campers.
At the bakery, learning the fine art of preparing pizza dough and decorating cupcakes and gingerbread houses using newly learned piping skills was fun and delicious at the same time. The "Not Just Desserts" bakery provides baked goods, made fresh daily by Dining Services award winning pastry chefs, to the dining units and other locations on the UConn Storrs campus.
Awarded "The Best of Connecticut" for ice cream for two years in a row by Connecticut Magazine, the UConn Dairy Bar was a refreshing hit with campers. Ainsley, who attended Camp 102, shared:
"My favorite part was getting to go to different places like the Dairy Bar to see how they make the ice cream.
On several of the hottest days of the summer, the tours of the ice cream-making facility and of course, an ice cream cone, was a cool delight for campers and camp staff alike.
The field trip to Beltane Farm in Lebanon for children in Camp 101 was an unusual yet enjoyable experience. Campers enjoyed playing with the friendly, rambunctious goats and sampling the delicious home-made cheeses, made from the farm’s resident goats.
A tour of Carla’s Pasta in South Windsor and Farmer’s Cow Farm in Lebanon both provided additional educational, tasty and fun field trips.
And what would cooking camp be without the food?
Children from Camp 101 went into the fields at Spring Valley Farm to pick some of the fresh produce, learned how to prep it on-site and then prepared a delicious and nutritious lunch consisting of ratatouille (tomatoes, squash, eggplant, onions, peppers, garlic and herbs), chicken cutlets and watermelon salsa.
Children from Camp 102 learned the art of preparing a delicious brunch menu consisting of classic waffles, crepes, French toast, fluffy scrambled eggs, mac & cheese, spaghetti & meatballs and Italian risotto.
Other foods campers prepared were calzones, fruit roll-ups, and pizza.
The last meal prepared at the end of each week, however, was the highlight of each camper’s cooking experience. Sounding like a menu you would expect to see in a high-end restaurant, children from Camp 101 helped to prepare a bountiful feast of grilled chicken with avocado salsa, goat cheese roulades, crab cakes remoulade, vegetable primavera, sausage, peppers and onions, roasted carrots and onions, garlic bread and a variety of pasta and sauces.
Children from Camp 102 helped prepare orange ginger chicken, vegetable fried rice, onion rings, fruit skewers, mexi-corn, tomato cucumber cantaloupe salad, falafel, pitas and tzatsiki sauce.
Feasting on their fruits of their labor was a rewarding experience for all campers. They went home full and satisfied with their newly learned cooking skills.
Several of the parents shared their children’s, as well as their own, enthusiasm:
"Cameron had so much fun. He couldn't wait to come home and help out in our kitchen."
"Jared enjoyed week two as much as week one. He liked being able to go on field trips to farms and to see and do things himself in the kitchen. We are both just totally pleased with the entire camp program. This was, overall, an excellent UConn Camp experience."
"Brenna and Claire look forward to this camp every year; it is one of their favorites. Brenna and Claire both love the trips to the Dairy Bar and the Bakery. They love the creativity they can express when they are decorating bakery items and blending ice cream. They also enjoy preparing and cooking food and then the pride of serving and eating as a class. The three of us are so impressed with Chef Rob and the entire staff. They treat the kids with such respect and professionalism. Brenna and Claire feel confident and proud of the skills they have learned and being true chefs. We can't wait to see you next summer."
The UConn Department of Dining Services UCann Cook Camps 101 and 102 are offered in July of each year and both camps are limited to 20 children between the ages of 10-13. Each participant receives a complimentary chef hat, recipe book which includes the recipes prepared during the camp, and a chef’s apron emblazoned with the UCann Cook Camp logo. Registration for the July 2014 camps will begin sometime in March or April of next year. Please visit the dining services website for updates and information: www.dining.uconn.edu or visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/uconndiningservices
If you don't know it already, let me tell you how proud you should be of your staff at the Whitney Dining Hall. They hit it out of the ball park regularly by serving fresh, delicious, visually appealing food on a consistent basis. I have been visiting my daughter often over her year at UConn and have had the pleasure of eating at Whitney multiple times.
We are a family of long-time vegetarians. I'm an enthusiastic home cook who makes almost everything from scratch, including fresh pasta and breads. I'm not easily impressed when I go out to restaurants. But I always looked forward to eating at Whitney.
I routinely enjoy their well-appointed salad bar with specialty salads such as tabouleh, sesame noodles, or couscous. But the entrees and sides impress me the most. I have had delicious vegan vegetable casseroles, stir-fries, tofu, and black bean burgers. I was shocked to see them serving a brand new vegan faux chicken product called 'Beyond Meat' last week. This product is slowly coming east from California, but it isn't even available for retail at Whole Foods yet. Whitney is right on top of things, and offering students vegan fare that is nothing short of spectacular.
If they had a franchise restaurant in my town, I would hang up my pots and pans and eat there every night.
I know people are more apt to contact you with complaints rather than compliments, but well-deserved praise needs to be expressed more often. I really appreciate that Whitney cooks for my daughter as I would do for her myself.
Dennis, on behalf of UCONN Public Safety, I would like to thank you and your crew for a fantastic job in providing us with catering services for our Spring Weekend coverage. Your staff were very courteous and professional and the food was outstanding.
The catering is one of the highlights our members look forward to during this busy period.
University of Connecticut Fire Department
5th Annual WoodSongs
Click on poster to enlarge.
Thank You UConn Students!
Click on poster to enlarge.
Dining Services 2013 Culinary Olympics
The Department of Dining Services will hold its annual Culinary Olympics on Thursday January 17, 2013. The event will take place at the South Campus / Rome Ballroom located on the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus.
Hope I've reached the right person to blame for last night's incredible experience. That midnight breakfast was one first-class operation...from the volunteers, to the employees, to the dining services staff, to the students. I was amazed at the intricacy in detail executed so very smoothly. You and your dining services people are to be commended. I cannot even begin to imagine what it took to put something like that together. My wife, Gail, and I were privileged to be a part of it and look forward to volunteering at every one we possibly can.
Click on poster to enlarge.
Click on poster to enlarge.
McMahon Chefs Rock
Hi, I'm a student at UConn and I just wanted to tell you that I was very impressed with the chefs at McMahon yesterday. The dining hall was serving padthai, which had peanuts. After hearing I was allergic, the chef at the station very kindly made me a peanut free dish. In short, the chefs at McMahon rock!
2012 Fall Give-A-Meal
Click on poster to enlarge.
2012 Thanksgiving Pie Sale
Click on the poster to view and print the order form.
This summer Dining Services is excited to offer two UCann Cook camps for children.
The UCann Cook Camp 101 for kids ages 10-13 years old: Wednesday, July 25 - Friday, July 27, 2012 (ages 10-13) from 8:30am – 4:00pm
UCann Cook Camp for 102 for kids ages 10-13 years old: Wednesday, August 1 - Friday, August 3, 2012. This camp is for those children that have taken Camp 101 and/or have a working knowledge of basic cooking skills.
Both camps will meet 8:30am - 4:00pm at Gelfenbien Commons Dining Unit on the UConn Storrs Campus.
Don't Miss the Gala Tea Tasting Event at Wilbur's Cafe!
Monday, March 19th, from 11:00am - 2:00pm, Wilbur's Cafe will be holding a gala presentation and sampling of six new loose teas that will be available only at Wilbur's! Stop by and taste each tea as well as sample delicious pastries from Dining Service's own Not Just Desserts bakery.
Click on poster to enlarge.
Wilbur’s Café Now Offering Bulk Tea
Featuring six flavors: Earl Grey Cream, Vanilla Chai Spice, Tropical Green, Pomegranate Pear, Genmachi and Darjeeling.
Pick a tea and we will brew it just for you!
Only at Wilbur’s UC Café located in the Wilbur Cross building.
Click on poster to enlarge.
NEW! FROZEN YOGURT AT THE BLUE COW.
Click on poster to enlarge.
12th Annual Culinary Competition
The Department of Dining Services held its annual Culinary Olympics on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The event will took place at the South Campus / Rome Ballroom located on the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus. The winners are:
Thai Pork Satay with Satay Sauce
Chef Rajendra Simkhada
Hunters Stew (In a Popover)
Chef James Watt
French Onion Soup Pierogies
Chef Gary Ellis
Indian Fry Bread with Bison Shank Picadillo
A Little taste of New Orleans
Seafood St. John
Chef Ron Swiller
Chocolate Raspberry Surprise
Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Almond Spaghetti with Strawberry Sauce and Chocolate & Mascarpone filled Zabaglione Zeppoles)
Chef Charlie String
Cranberry Laced Flan w/Ginger Crème Anglaise, Orange Scented Carmel and a Cranberry Reduction
Chef Hector Vega
Cake Decorating Competition
Alice in Wonderland
Boiling Point Competition
1st Place South Campus Steve Demers, Scott Chapman, Charlie String
Thai Seasoned Pesto Mozzarella Stuffed Boar with Tomato Chutney
Rutabaga Craisin Risotto on a bed of Pickle Slaw
Banana Stuffed French Toast with Wild Berry Couli
2nd Place Chuck & Augies Paul Richter, Tyler May, Derek Carlsen
Pickle and Rutabaga with whipped Goat Cheese and a Tarragon Foam
Pan Seared Wild Boar with Pickle Shallot Cucumber Marmalade garnished with smoked Salt and Garlic
Cinnamon Crepes with Chantilly Cream with Peanut Butter Powder with Crème en Glace and Fresh Berries
3rd Place Northwest Michael Tolisano, Susan Chang, Lisa Charbonneau
Asian Steamed Wild Boar Meatballs
Kicked-Up Cuban Slider with Rutabaga Fries
Chocolate Bread Pudding with Maple Chevre Cream
12th Annual Culinary Competition
The Department of Dining Services will hold its annual Culinary Olympics on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The event will take place at the South Campus / Rome Ballroom located on the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus.
The first event is the "Recipe Contest" that is scheduled to begin at approximately 8:30am on Thursday. Recipes must be prepared on site for 12 portions, and must fall into one of the following categories: Appetizer / Entrée’ / Dessert. Recipes will be judged on the following criteria: Clarity of Recipe / Creativity of Dish / Cooking Techniques / Use of Ingredients / Taste and Textures.
The second event is the "Cake Decorating Challenge" that is scheduled to begin at 10:30am and finish at 1:30pm. Participants will bring ready baked or dummy cakes of any size and shape. Cakes must be a minimum of three tiers and be prepared with a "The World of Walt Disney" Theme. The cakes will then be judged on the following criteria: Creativity of Cake Design / Appearance / Technique / Use of Materials.
The final event is scheduled to begin at approximately 12:15pm and is called "BOILING POINT". This is our version of the "Iron Chef" competition that will involve teams of three chefs representing the different dining facilities within the department. Each team will be presented with a mystery box of ingredients, and using a few minor items from our pantry, prepare three different Tapas (small food or appetizer) on each plate. Teams will have one and one half hours to prepare their dishes for 4 judges. Teams will be scored on the following criteria: Creativity of Dish / Cooking Techniques / Use of Ingredients / Taste and Textures.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
9:30am Chef Demonstration
James Lynn, CraftSteak, Foxwoods Resort and Casino
Variations of "Classic Potato Gnocchi"
BIO: James Lynn, Chef de Cuisine: Growing up near the Connecticut oceanfront, James Lynn appreciated the area’s natural beauty, welcoming each new season and the various changes that accompanied them. Lynn later found that, as a chef, he could continue to embrace these changes by cooking seasonally and showcasing the inherent flavors of fresh, local ingredients. As chef de cuisine at CraftSteak at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Lynn applies his seasonal focus to the steak-driven menu.
Lynn’s first restaurant job came at the age of 14 when he began as a busboy at the Boatyard Café in Dodson’s Boatyard in Stonington, Connecticut. After a summer at the waterfront cafe, he shifted into the kitchen where chef/owner Deborah Bien taught him the foundations of cooking and the importance of allowing ingredients to speak for themselves.
In 2000, Lynn joined the team at Seahorse Restaurant, a casual dining establishment in Noank, Connecticut. He was later promoted to sous chef, taking on a leadership role and overseeing all kitchen operations. After four years, he joined Riverwalk in Mystic, Connecticut as chef de cuisine, developing menus that featured creative New England cuisine.
To further hone his cooking skills, Lynn took on stages at some of the culinary world’s most prominent restaurants, including Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York City and Ken Oringer’s Toro in Boston. These experiences helped refine his techniques, teaching him to maintain the integrity of high quality products when creating dishes.
When CraftSteak at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods opened in 2008, Lynn seized the opportunity to work as a line cook at acclaimed chef Tom Colicchio’s restaurant. Lynn has worked his way up to become chef de cuisine, a position in which he manages, trains and oversees the operations of over 30 employees. He changes the restaurant’s menu daily to highlight the freshest, most flavorful ingredients available and particularly enjoys creating braised, cured and confited dishes that develop complex flavors over time.
To this day, Lynn continues to find excitement in the change of each season, discovering inspiration and renewed interest with each ingredient. At CraftSteak, he hopes to help shed light on the importance of small-scale farming by featuring products from local farms on his menu. In his free time, Lynn can often be found at his outdoor grill, or fly fishing, snowboarding and spending time with his wife and daughter.
10:30am-1:30 pm "Cake Decorating Challenge"
Judge: Kim Bova, owner and photographer of Kim Bova Photography specializing in wedding and portraiture. Earned a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, former concert pianist and teacher, performed in and around NYC and CT, resident of Mansfield; mother of two. http://www.kimbova.com/
Judge: John Bova, retired professional musician - a freelance trumpet player - worked in NYC for 50 years, performed with the metropolitan opera, TV ballet, commercials, and big bands with Randy Brooks, Sonny Dunham, Boggy Burn, Fred Waring, to name just a few. Also a Natural History Photographer, published in the NY Times Magazine, Encyclopedia Britannica and more.
Judge: Wayne Norman, "The Wayne Norman Show", 1400 WILI-AM Radio
"The Voice of UConn Basketball" Wayne has the longest continuously running morning show on am 1400 WILI Radio in Connecticut. Wayne has been heard statewide as sports commentator for University of Connecticut basketball and football broadcasts since 1979 on a network of stations that includes WILI. http://www.wili.com/
10:30am-12:00pm "Recipe Contest Judging"
Judge: Richard Moriarty,www.lincolnedu.com Chef Richard Moriarty is a 1966 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. During his 40 years in the food service industry he has enjoyed the rigors and rewards of a chef’s life, the challenge of a restaurant partnership, owning his own establishment, and finally having the privilege of becoming involved in the exciting world of culinary education. He is the Program Manager at the Cromwell campus of the Lincoln Technical Institute, Center for Culinary Arts.
Judge: Doug Hughes, husband of UConn President Susan Herbst, a former strategic planning director at DDB Worldwide ad agency, where he helped develop advertising and new products for many of America’s best-known food brands, including Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Cheetos, McDonald’s, Hamburger Helper, Budweiser, Tyson Chicken, and Gold Medal Flour, among others.
Judge: Chef Christopher Prosperi, Chef-Owner, Metro Bis Restaurant.
Christopher Prosperi is chef and co-owner of Metro Bis restaurant in the affluent Hartford suburb of Simsbury, Connecticut which is the highest ranked restaurant in the state for American food according to the Zagat Survey. The New York Times also declared that "Metro Bis is worth a detour." Chris is a weekly recipe columnist for the Hartford Courant and his work regularly appears across the country via the Tribune wire service. www.MetroBis.com
Judge: John Saddlemire, Student Affairs Vice President, University of Connecticut, www.uconn.edu
Award Presentation immediately following Boiling Point
(The UConn Coop Bookstore will have an array of cookbooks by various authors available for purchase throughout the day.)
I thought you would like to see these photos taken during Philanthropy Day of students who are thankful for Dining Services. View HuskyDrive in Facebook.
2011 Dining Services Thanksgiving Pie Sale
Once again, Dining Services is pleased to offer you the opportunity to purchase delicious baked goods from our on-campus “Not Just Desserts” Bakery: pies, cakes, cookies and assorted breads, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Click here for form.
Order Form will Arrive in Inter-office Mail
You will be receiving an order form in inter-office mail soon. (Just a reminder that on-line ordering will not be available.) Your order from must be filled out and returned with payment to Dining Services’ main office located in South/Rome Commons East, ground floor, Room GO9, U-1071. You may hand deliver or use campus mail.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving wishes from Dining Services to you and yours!
Wilbur’s UC Café Hosts Soup Tasting Event
On Tuesday, October 18th, approximately 600 UConn students, staff and visitors lined up in the Wilbur Cross building near Wilbur’s Cafe to sample a variety of flavorful soups. Hosted by the Department of Dining Services, representatives from Kettle Cuisine ladled out complimentary cups of Coconut Chicken Curry, Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo, Chicken Corn chowder, Pumpkin Bisque, Steak and Cheddar Ale, Indian Lentil, Buffalo Chicken, and Chipotle Sweet Potato. Within 2 ½ hours, close to twenty gallons of soups had been tasted, with Steak and Cheddar Ale deemed the most popular.
The Department of Dining Services mission is to nourish the University community by providing quality, diverse and nutritious foods.
Fall 2011 Give-A-Meal
UConn Dining Services, UConn PIRG and Community Outreach present the annual "Give-A-Meal", an opportunity to give back to your community. Simply swipe your meal card one or two extra times during dinner on Wednesday, October 19th and Dining Services will donate $2.50 toward relief efforts in our community. See poster for more information.
This is a letter left by two girls attending the summer soccer camp! Although we love this, we also appreciate all your comments. Your dining experience has to be a memorable one or we have failed to meet your expectations.
More Fan Mail
Thank You from the ALD Pumpkin Fest Organizers:
Thank you ten thousand times over for all of your efforts in facilitating Pumpkin Fest. I cannot get over how smoothly it progressed and what a success it was! We raised $308 to donate to the Ulman Cancer Foundation for Young Adults. This achievement is due significantly to your work.
We truly appreciated everything you did for ALD's annual event. It helped having 6 tables, a garbage station, and hand washing station so we would pass health inspections. By arranging our pumpkin order and transported them to the event you absolutely facilitated the pumpkin decorating station. The poster you designed for us looked outstanding and certainly helped draw a consistent flow of students and faculty.
Also we LOVED the desserts you brought to the event. The fall themed desserts and ice creams were hit and everyone loved them - the whoopee pies were amazing and everything tasted wonderful! Having a bushel of apples there really drove the fall festival feeling home. The food definitely made the event enjoyable.
Everything you did for this blew me, as well as the rest of ALD executive board, and members away. Your kind-hearted support was noticed by all!
Thank you again,
The University of Connecticut Named One of America’s Top 20 "Coolest" Schools by Sierra Magazine
The University of Connecticut praised for green efforts by national magazine, ranks #16 on list
The University of Connecticut placed #16 on Sierra magazine’s fifth annual ranking of the nation’s top "Coolest Schools". A salute to the efforts of colleges around the country helping to solve climate issues and operate sustainably, the cover feature spotlights the schools that are making a true impact for the planet, from UC Irvine’s energy-efficiency standards to Stanford’s commitment to maintaining undeveloped open space to Green Mountain College sourcing nearly half its energy from, yes, cow manure. The complete list is available online at www.sierramagazine.com/coolschools.
Sustainability initiatives at The University of Connecticut include: 80% of campus energy is supplied by steam from a co-generation facility. Waste cooking oil produced in campus dining units and retail outlets is used to power the UConn shuttle buses. South Dining unit, one of UConn’s largest dining halls, has implemented a pilot food composting system that recycles almost 100% of food waste for that location using an in-kitchen decomposer. Waste product is used to nourish the campus water treatment facility. Additionally, the University of Connecticut is the single largest purchaser of locally grown food in the state of Connecticut, purchasing from over 30 local farms and spending over $500,000 per year on locally grown food items. The campus also maintains two working one acre gardens and several hundred acres of traditional farm and pasture land; all which employ student labor for their maintenance.
"When students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and proceed to get their hands dirty in the real world, they realize the potential they have to make a difference," said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine editor-in-chief. "We’re thrilled to highlight these forward-thinking schools for emphasizing environmental responsibility, and for teaching, inspiring, and empowering students to affect real change."
This year’s top schools prove that schools of all sizes – the University of Washington has 40,000 students, while College of the Atlantic has 321 – are taking dramatic action to help preserve the planet and its resources.
Sierra magazine’s top 20 schools of 2011 are:
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
University of California San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC)
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)
Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
University of New Hampshire (Durham, NJ)
Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)
Colby College (Waterville, ME)
Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)
University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
Clark University (Worcester, MA)
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)
University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Sierra also featured the stories of educators and students who are committed to immersive learning, and who take their lessons outside the confines of the classroom and into the real world, to places like Bali in Indonesia, New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and Utah’s Navajo Nation.
According to a 2010 Princeton Review report, 64% of prospective college students take a university's commitment to environmental issues into consideration when deciding where to apply and enroll. Students care deeply about green issues and are attracted to institutions that are taking the initiative to solve environmental problems. The complete rankings, with comprehensive descriptions of each school’s environmental efforts, are available online at www.sierramagazine.com/coolschools.
About Sierra magazine Sierra is the official publication of the Sierra Club, America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1.4 million members and supporters nationwide. The Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, go to www.sierramagazine.com.
Chef Derek Carlsen from Chuck & Augie's Restaurant brought home a bronze medal from the NACUFS Culinary Competition held Sunday, March 13th. The competition was part of the Northeast regional conference held in Syracuse, New York. Congratulations Derek!
Here is his winning recipe. Coffee Rubbed Beef Tri-Tip with Avocado Salsa Verde, Sauteed Mushrooms & Leeks, Sazon Potatoes
Coffee Rubbed Tri-Tip
1.5-2 LB Beef Tri-Tip
2oz coffee beans (preferably medium-dark roast)
2Tbsp coriander seed
1tsp chipotle powder
6 each garlic cloves, brunoise
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
As needed smoked sea salt
Trim the beef of fat and silver skin. Cut length wise into 1 ½ inch thick pieces, repeat so you are left with 1 ½" x 1 ½" strips. Set aside and save the scraps for later use. Combine the next five ingredients in a spice grinder until finely ground. Rub the beef and set aside. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat until hot. Shake off the excess rub from the beef and place in the pan. Turn the beef every 2-3 minutes searing them on all four sides. Check for doneness and allow to rest. In a small sauce pot add the oil and garlic on medium heat. When the garlic is a light brown color, remove and place on paper towels. When ready to serve, slice the beef on a bias, and garnish with the toasted garlic and smoked salt.
Avocado Salsa Verde
2oz Spanish onion, diced
1LB tomatillos, cleaned and halved
1 bunch cilantro, trimmed
1 each garlic clove, pealed
½ each avocado
As needed salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a container, rest plastic wrap on top of the sauce so there is no air contact. Refrigerate until needed.
Sautéed Mushroom & Leeks
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1LB shitake, trimmed and quartered
1 each garlic clove, minced
1 each shallot, small dice
½ tsp thyme, chopped
3 each leek, trimmed and sliced
2 Tbsp butter
As needed salt and pepper
In a large sauté pan add the oil and heat on medium-high. And the mushroom and sauté until slightly caramelized. Add the garlic, shallot and thyme, continue to sauté until soft. Add the leeks and sauté until slightly soft and add the butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks have softened. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
4LB russet potatoes, tournee
2 pkt sazon
As needed canola oil
As needed salt and pepper
Add the potatoes to a saucepot of salted water. Bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes and remove. Combine the sazon and cornstarch and add the potatoes, coating thoroughly. In a saucepot heat the canola oil to 350 degrees and fry the potatoes for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
We heart Your Appreciation of Dining Services
We at Dining Services recently received quite a few thank you notes sent via email from students and parents so we thought we would share a few with you.
Dear Mr. Pierce,
I’ve been attending this University for 4 years and this is my last semester. I have lived on campus for my entire UConn career and have eaten at the Dining Halls nearly every day for my stay. I have always been impressed by the variety and quality of the food offered on campus. The university has many different choices and having 7 dining halls makes the dining experience much richer than comparable universities in the area.
Despite this lofty praise, today altered my opinion of the dining halls on campus forever as well as my opinion of the administration of the campus as a whole. Today my friend and I went to South Dining Hall right as the doors opened at 7 AM. During the regular school week we have been accustomed to eating omelettes made to order by the fine chefs employed by the dining services. Today, however, we forgot that the omelette bar is not open. Believe it or not, these omelettes are the staple of our mornings, they are what get us up and ready to work for the rest of the day.
As we entered the dining hall we were greeted by a very friendly member of the management staff. We continued through the dining hall and we sparked up a conversation with one of the many welcoming chefs working selflessly to create the copious amounts of food required to feed the growing UConn population. We asked if omelettes were available and the member of Dining Staff truthfully replied that they would not be available until 10:15 AM. Going about our normal routine we acquired the already made southern style scrambled eggs and home fries and took our seats, expecting a usual dining hall experience. However, this was far from a normal dining hall experience.
As we sat at the table thoroughly enjoying the breakfast that dining staff members had carefully prepared, we were approached by the same member of dining services that we spoke with concerning the omelletes. He asked us if we were still interested in the cheese omelettes that we discussed with him previously. We replied positively, but we were not expecting anything to come of that conversation. However, once we had nearly completed our meal, this gentlemen approached with a plate containing two cheese omelettes, and placed them on the table without a word. We immediately stood up in jubilation and thanked the individual and asked him his name. He responded simply and said, "Steve".
The omelettes were no ordinary omelettes. We uncovered the plate that he placed on the table. Before us rested two of the fluffiest, most cheese engorged omelettes that I personally have ever seen. We viciously devoured the omelettes and could not have been more satisfied. Honestly, they were the best omelettes that I have ever tasted. This is not an exaggeration.
What we are writing to you about, Mr. Pierce is not the quality of the meal that we had this morning. Instead, we wanted to illuminate the selfless and thoughtful acts of one dining service member. "Steve" was not obligated to provide us with omelettes. However, he took time out of his busy morning routine and serviced two students in a manner that went beyond his job description. In a university as large as UConn, it is often easy to feel more like a number than an individual. "Steve" proved this axiom to be untrue. This act of kindness went beyond simply providing sustenance for students; a job that is worthy of admiration in itself. "Steve" proved that there are members of the university staff who genuinely care about students.
Today, we were lucky enough to eat the best meal we have ever had on campus, and quite possibly in our lives. This is all thanks to the personal touch and caring that "Steve" applied to his position at Dining Services. In our humble opinion he exemplifies what every Dining Service employee should be. We believe that despite his uncanny abilities in the culinary arts, he should be reviewed for a management position. This is because he embodies the vision and values that can take that already prestigious Dining Services to a new level. When we are home we are accustomed good home cooked food. Having someone go out of their way and go beyond their job description to make us feel more comfortable is a more admirable quality than we can describe.
This morning "Steve" might have simply made two cheese omelettes but to us that meant much more. As we sat at our table astonished at his act of kindness we decided to send this e-mail to you thanking you and the dining hall staff for not only providing a place for us to eat food but creating an environment in which we truly feel at home.
"I just wanted to let you know that all week students have been raving about Buckley Dining Hall. Not sure what your numbers are like, but students have been telling me how much they have appreciated the treats, from popcorn to chocolate, and that it has really helped them study. I even heard a student today say, 'I am going to miss Buckley food when I go home.' Finally, a student who is employed by the Admissions Office even referenced Buckley in her blog this week, some great exposure:
"Buckley dining hall has been having amazing finals stress relievers every dinner time this past week. So far they’ve had a cookie decorating program and a carnival food tent with root beer floats, cotton candy, popcorn and fried dough, and a chocolate dipping station! I swear root beer floats and chocolate dipped macaroons and pretzels made my nights of philosophy and history studying so much better."
The email ends with "...thank you for all your hard work, it is making a huge difference."
Also an email from a thankful parent:
"Dear Mr. Pierce,
As the parent of a UConn student, I am writing to express my appreciation for the excellent work that the staff of Dining Services does in the campus dining halls. I have been extremely impressed with the quality and variety of the food served, and greatly appreciate the selection of healthy foods that is available – students do seem to appreciate the salad and cooked vegetable options, even the hulking young men who look like they might exist on "pizza and beer" (but whom I’ve seen happily loading up on broccoli and carrots); I think that UConn parents would be pleased to know their children are eating well while at school.
Even more, I am impressed with the skill and effort of your staff. Using my son’s guest passes, I have eaten breakfast at North Dining Hall and dinner at Northwest and South. At North, I have seen staff who go out of their way to greet the students when they arrive and wish them a good day as they leave; my son would expressly like to mention Don and Lou in North’s omelet section and Bill, who swipes student IDs, as staff members who make an extra effort to ensure that students have a positive experience.
At South, I have been enormously impressed with the skill of the staff in moving so many students through the dining hall each evening. I have actually watched, on occasion, to see how staff avoid line backups during busy periods, and there is clearly a science (including techniques such replacing trays before they become empty and continuing to move food to the front of trays for easier access) that the staff has down pat. I have also seen staff constantly patrolling stations to clean up spills, and they do a tremendous job keeping a large area spotless despite having a very large number of students serve themselves. Both student and professional staff are also very cheerful and helpful to patrons, which is impressive considering how busy they are during the dinner period, and I would especially like to single out assistant manager Alice as a staff person who is extremely efficient, knowledgeable and friendly, and who clearly does a great deal to keep the dining hall running smoothly.
As a parent, I believe that students’ nutritional habits are important to their well-being in college, and I am grateful that UConn offers such excellent dining options. Thank you so much, and happy holidays.
Robert Min, UConn Bakery Manager, highlighted in Recent Edition of FoodService Director Magazine. Click to read article »
Dining Services Employee of the Year!
Dining Services congratulates Bidney Shimkus! She has been awarded the 2010 Dining Services Employee of the Year.
Dining Services congratulates Crystal Fogg, Pastry Chef at our "Not Just Desserts" Bakery for placing in the Cupcake Competition at the Big E. Crystal's "Pumpkin Maple Penuche Cupcake" placed 3rd among the many entrants. Crystal is a seven year employee of Dining Services. Click for photo »
Festival on the Green
Recipes Prepared by Three of UConn Dining Services Award Winning Chefs: James Buell, Lisa Charbonneau, Robert Landolphi
Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder
Courtesy of Chef James Buell
(Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Makes 1 gallon
1 lb Sweet potatoes (diced 3/4")
4 ears Corn on the cob (shucked)
2 T Smoke oil
8 oz Onion (chopped 1/2”)
8 oz Celery (sliced)
1 ea Green pepper (diced)
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Salt
4 oz Rice flour
2 qts Rice milk
Brush corn and diced sweet potato with smoke oil, roast in 450° oven about 10 minutes for the sweet potato and 20 – 25 minutes for the corn. Cut corn from the cob. Saute onion, celery and peppers in margarine, until tender and crisp. Add the spices. Add rice flour to make a roux. Add rice milk and cook until thickened, then add potatoes and corn. Garnish with chopped chives and vegan sour cream.
Creole Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Grits
Courtesty of Chef Lisa Charbonneau
For the Shrimp:
1 T Creole spice blend (recipe below)
4 TB butter
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB Tabasco
1 cup beer
For the Grits:
2 C chicken stock
1/2 C quick cook grits
1/2 C light cream
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
Peel, devein and pat shrimp dry, season with Cajun spice and pepper. Heat pan, add 2 TB butter, and heat until foamy. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute then remove to bowl. Add remaining butter and veggies and sauté until tender. Add remaining ingredients and reduce beer until sauce is thick.
Add back shrimp just before serving to heat through and finish cooking. Meanwhile, heat stock to rapid boil. Add grits, stirring constantly until thickened.
Lower heat and add remaining ingredients, whisking until cheese is melted and incorporated. Serve shrimp over grits in a bowl. Serves 4.
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, small chop
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
In medium sauce pan bring quinoa and water to a boil over high heat. Decrease heat to simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
Scoop cooked quinoa onto large plate, and allow to cool completely. In medium bowl, mix together broccoli, dried cherries, red onion, pecans, and cooked quinoa.
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add to quinoa mixture and toss until completely blended. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld. Makes 4-6 servings.
"Ace of Cakes" star, Duff Goldman, visits with UConn Bakery Manager Robert Min.
Dining Services Congratulates John Dumphy from South Dining.
John is the 2009 Dining Services Employee of the Year!
University of Connecticut Dining Services Scores an A on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card
The College Sustainability Report Card is designed to identify colleges and universities that are leaders in sustainability. The aim is to provide accessible information for schools to learn from each other's experiences and establish more effective sustainability practices. The College Sustainability Report Card, found at GreenReportCard.org, is the only comparative evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. GreenReportCard.org provides in-depth sustainability profiles for hundreds of colleges in all 50 U.S. States and in Canada. The profiles of 300 schools were created using information gathered through independent research and well as through voluntary responses from school administrators to three surveys. Grades were determined by assessing performance across 43 indicators. While Dining received an A, UConn's overall rating was B+. Visit http://www.greenreportcard.org/report-card-2011/schools/university-of-connecticut-storrs to view how UConn performed overall.
NACUFS Student of the Year Award, NACUFS Northeast Region
Michael Viens, Student Program Coordinator for the Department of Dining Services, has just been awarded the National Association of College and University Food Services Student Employee of the Year award for the northeast region. This award recognizes diligence, competence and excellence in service. Congratulations to Mike!
Department of Dining Services Takes 3rd Place in the NACUFS (National Association of College & University Food Services) Most Innovative Nutrition Contest.
The Department submitted its Be A Healthy Husky Nutritional Program campaign.
View the Union Street Market "virtual tour" featured on the NACUFS website: http://www.nacufs.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
The University of Connecticut’s Department of Dining Services Wins 2008 MenuMasters Award for Spa Foods – the First University to Win This Award!!! The University of Connecticut’s Department of Dining Services’ new line of Spa Foods has been chosen as the winner of the 2008 MenuMasters Award in the category of Healthful Innovations.Learn More »
UConn Student Winners of the Singer/Songwriter Talent Contest Held at Whitney Dining
Connecticut State Troubadour, Lara Herscovitch, also performed. Full Story »
Earth Day Spring Fling
was held on Wednesday, April 22 on Fairfield Way