Holy Cross Dining’s Inauguration Dinner Wins Top Industry Award

Kimball Takeover Program honored for innovative wellness and nutrition

June 14th, 2013 by Cristal Steuer


Holy Cross Dining's Edward Delage and Francine Buck prepare warm three berry cobbler with a vanilla bean whipped cream and a raspberry coulis for the presidential inauguration dinner. Image by Rob Carlin

Holy Cross Dining has received top honors in this year’s national Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards contest, receiving a Gold Prize for the inauguration dinner they created in honor of the College’s 32nd president, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., this past September.  This is the second consecutive year Holy Cross has earned the Gold Prize, having received the Gold and Grand Prize for the construction of the Science Café in 2012. Dining also received a Bronze award for its “Kimball Takeover program” which won in the Most Innovative Wellness and Nutrition Program category.

Sponsored by the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS), Holy Cross won in the category “Catering—Special Event,” which entries were judged on creativity, atmosphere, excitement, and success of the event. Holy Cross Dining competed against 24 different colleges and universities from across the country.

More than 360 guests attended the dinner including alumni, faculty, staff, delegates from colleges and universities across the U.S., members of the College’s Board of Trustees and Fr. Boroughs’ friends and family. “Planning for the inauguration dinner started more than a year in advance and was truly a team effort on campus,” says Linda Nardella, director of Holy Cross Dining. “We researched some of the top restaurants as well as regional cuisine from Seattle and Vancouver to plan a menu that would make Fr. Boroughs feel at home.”

To reflect his upbringing in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Wash., the menu included regional favorites such as Dungeness crab and Pacific salmon. The meal started with a salad of twin colored baby oak and romaine layered with Pacific coast Dungeness crab, avocado, mango, and shaved red onion with a honey citrus vinaigrette.  The main course consisted of roasted sage brined Statler chicken and cedar plank-roasted Pacific salmon with a candied garlic butter sauce, accompanied by a haricot vert bundle with a scallion tie, Yukon golden mashed potatoes and roasted local root vegetable garni.  The meal concluded with a warm three berry cobbler topped with a vanilla bean whipped cream and raspberry coulis.

“The feedback we received from everyone was just amazing,” says Nardella. “I think we truly accomplished our goal of making Fr. Boroughs feel at home, here, on Mount St. James.”

On March 21, students at Holy Cross “took over” the Kimball Dining Hall for two hours during lunch, creating recipes and preparing meals for fellow students with the help of Dining staff. The Kimball Takeover program started with Paige Wesson ’13, who was interested in wholesome food and wanted to increase nutrition awareness on campus. Wesson turned to Holy Cross’ dietitian Kathy Egan to help execute the idea. “We put on the event together in honor of National Nutrition Month. The goal of the event was to raise awareness about real, nutritious food and why it is so important—especially for students,” says Wesson.

The program earned them a Bronze award from NACUFS. Thirty colleges and universities across the country submitted entries in two categories, including Most Innovative Wellness & Nutrition Program and Best Local Foods Recipe. Each entry was judged by a team of collegiate dining professionals.

“The success of Kimball Takeover exceeded my wildest expectations,” says Egan.  Kimball usually serves 750-800 lunches on a Thursday; during the Kimball Takeover they served nearly 1,000. “The dining room was filled with an electricity of people having fun and socializing over a bountiful, creative meal,” she shares.

Menu items included cheddar, corn and potato chowder, 4Leaf chili, artisan breads, fennel risotto, Panini sandwiches, a rice bowl station, rustic Italian squash flat bread pizza, roasted chicken, kale salad, and vegan cookies.

In response to the Kimball Takeover, Dining will be adding daily vegan and gluten-free recipes to Kimball Dining Hall’s menu this fall. Starting Friday, June 14, Dining will be hosting their annual summer barbeques every Friday in the Hogan Courtyard and will also be hosting an accompanying farmer’s market.

Holy Cross Dining will be honored at the NACUFS national conference in Minneapolis next month.

NACUFS was founded in 1958 to help encourage and support colleges and universities in their efforts to provide their communities with the best food service possible. Today NACUFS has members from more than 550 higher education institutions across the country.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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