Freshman open option majors Zac Huchens and Alex Littleton dine at the brand new Center for Community dining hall on Wednesday, August 25. CU's dining hall system recently won an award for food quality. (CU Independent/Eric Hemler)
CU dining services is changing the way people think about “dorm food.”
In early August, The American Culinary Federation named CU’s Dining services one of eight institutions to win their Achievement of Excellence Award. CU was the only university to receive the award, while other recipients include a steakhouse, a café, a country club and a senior citizen home.
Kerry Paterson, executive chef of CU dining services, said he believed the award was well deserved.
“It was great to get some recognition, to get some reward for the hard-work the team has done,” Paterson said. “We were the only university to win that award, so it was really great. [It shows] a lot of the effort the culinary team has put in over the many years.”
Paterson said he believed the win was due to a variety of reasons.
“Our sustainability, we work a lot with organics, the emphasis we put on training, the variety of menus we offer, the variety of outlets we have and the quality of our meals are all part of it,” he said.
Emily Draving, a 20-year-old communication major who works at the grab-n-go at the new Center for Community on campus, said the chefs are important.
“I think the chefs are amazing,” Draving said. “I don’t see why people complain. I think we have really good chefs and they make really good food with what they have. I work with a lot of them and they’re amazing. I think they absolutely deserve [the award].”
Draving also said the chefs she works with are continually looking for ways to improve.
“If they see a recipe they think they can improve, they’ll do it,” she said. “It’s pretty well-organized, well-run and it’s clean. I think it’s pretty cool.”
Jordan Hardy, a 20-year-old junior history and psychology major, said she hasn’t eaten much in the dining halls since her freshman year.
“Some things were really good and I loved the chef station at Libby,” Hardy said. “But other days it was really poor, it varied so much.”
Hardy said dining services winning the award would have been more important to her when weighing her options about universities upon finishing high school.
“It doesn’t change anything for me now,” she said. “I’m living independently and I like making my own food, but if I was looking at schools I think that would really impress me.”
Other students said they didn’t care about the award.
“I just don’t care,” said Tom Walton, a 23-year-old sophomore economics major, “It’s not important to me, I don’t want to eat there.”
Jim Busch, a 20-year-old junior mechanical engineer, said he has eaten at the dining halls pretty steadily every year.
“I think it’s cool [they won],” Busch said. “It seems like they’re working hard every time I’m there. They try to make the lines go quickly, but they don’t let the quality of the food suffer.”
Draving said she thinks too many students take the dining halls for granted.
“I think it’s personally crap that so many students complain about the food here,” she said. “No we’re not a private university and they do try to add variety and they do take into account different nutritional needs and diets. They really don’t know how hard it is to do that kind of thing, they do take for granted the dining halls.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.
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