Awards


These awards honor the "best in the business" on an annual basis and recognize a food service staff's expertise and creativity. The program also fosters a competitive spirit on each campus to promote quality, teamwork, and excellence.

  • 2017
    • Silver Award - Residential Dining Concepts
  • 2015
    • Honorable Mention - Residential Dining Concepts
  • 2014
    • Bronze Award- Residential Dining Special Event ( Pacific Northwest) 
  • 2013
    • Bronze Award- Residential Dining Concepts (Standard Menu)
    • Bronze Award- Residential Dining Special Event (Night on the Nile)
  • 2012
    • Grand Prize- Residential Dining Concepts (Standard Menu)
    • Gold Award- Residential Dining Concepts (Standard Menu)
    • Honorable Mention- Catering Online Menu
  • 2011
    • Bronze Award- Residence Hall Dining/ Theme Dinner- Sunset Breakfast
    • Bronze Award- Residence Hall Dining- Multiple Concepts/Outlets- UGA Meal Plan Menu
  • 2010
    • Silver Award Residence Hall/Theme Dinner - Cafe Cretaceous Dinner
    • Bronze Award Catering/Special Event- Cook's Holiday
  • 2009
    • Grand Prize - Spotlight on Broadway
    • Gold Award Residence Hall - Spotlight on Broadway
    • Bronze Award Retail Sales – Multiple Concepts/Outlets - Bulldog
  • 2008
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Dining Standard Menu
  • 2007
    • People's Choice Award - Retail Sales-Multiple Concepts/Outlets - Red Clay Cafe
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall- Special Event- Roaring 20's
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Dining Standard Menu
  • 2006
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Dining Standard Menu
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Special Events - Taste of Torino
    • Bronze Award Retail Sales/Multiple Concepts - Campus Eateries
  • 2005
    • Grand Prize Residence Hall Dining - Standard Menu
    • Gold Award Residence Hall - Dining Standard Menu
    • Bronze Award - Retail Sales/ Multiple Concepts - Red Clay Cafe
  • 2004
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Special Event - Take me out to the Ballgame
    • Bronze Award Residence Hall - Special Event - British Brunch
    • Bronze Award Catering - Special Event - Hawaiian Luau
  • 2003
    • 1st Place Residence Hall - Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Residence Hall - Special Event - Chuck Wagon Dinner
  • 2002
    • 2nd Place Residence Hall - Special Event - From Sea To Shining Sea
    • 3rd Place Residence Hall - Special Event - Circus Night
    • 3rd Place Catering - Legislative Reception
    • 3rd Place Retail Operations - Bulldog Cafe
  • 2001
    • 1st Place Special EventTheme - Dining Good For You Gourmet
    • 2nd Place Resident Hall Dining - Special Event
    • 2nd Place Resident Hall Dining - Standard Menu
  • 2000
    • Grand Prize Residence Hall Dining - Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining - Standard Menu
  • 1999
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining - Standard Menu
    • 3rd Place Cash Sales - Special Events - Gift-O-Gram St Patrick's Day
  • 1998
    • 2nd Place Residence Hall Dining - Standard Menu
  • 1996
    • Grand Prize Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • Grand Prize Special Event Theme Dining Cuisine of Africa
    • 1st Place Special Event Theme Dining Salute to the Ivy
    • 2nd Place Cash Sales Special Promotion Catering Showcase
    • 3rd Place Cash Sales Special Event Promotion
  • 1995
    • Grand Prize Cash Sales Special Promotion Gift-O-Gram
    • 1st Place Cash Sales Special Promotion Gift-O-Gram
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Special Events Theme Dinner Korean Night
  • 1994
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Special Event Theme Dinner Dining on the Rails
  • 1993
    • Grand Prize Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • Grand Prize Cash Sales Promotions Cook's Holiday
    • 1st Place Cash Sales Promotions Cook's Holiday
    • 2nd Place Special Events Theme Dinner Bulldawg Deli
    • 2nd Place Cash Sales Standard Menu UGA+Menu
  • 1992
    • 1st Place Special Events Theme Dinner Tribute to Mother's Day
    • 2nd Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
  • 1991
    • 2nd Place Special Events Theme Dinner German Celebration
  • 1990
    • Grand Prize Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
    • Grand Prize Special Events Theme Dinner Russian Night
    • 1st Place Special Events Theme Dinner Russian Night
  • 1989
    • Grand Prize Cash Sales Standard Menu Faculty Center
    • 1st Place Cash Sales Standard Menu Faculty Center
    • 1st Place Residence Hall Dining Standard Menu
  • 1988
    • Grand Prize Cash Sales Special Promotions Cook's Holiday
    • 1st Place Cash Sales Special Promotions Cook's Holiday
    • 3rd Place Cash Sales Standard Menu Bulldog Room
  • 1987
    • 3rd Place Cash Sales Specialty Shop Lunch a la Cart

Each year, the talented chefs of the University of Georgia Food Services have the opportunity to compete in the National Association of College & University Food Services Culinary Challenge. All of the participants prepare the same basic main course, and then complete the meal with two side dishes of their choosing.

Picture of a chef in a culinary challenge

The University of Georgia chefs repeatedly leave their mark at the regional and national levels.

Contestants are allotted 75 minutes in which to prepare their hopeful masterpieces. Although the competitors may take advantage of preparatory time prior to this time limit, the hot entrée must be prepared in its entirety during the allotted 75 minutes.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

The contestants are evaluated by three independent judges, who use the following as criteria: taste of the finished product, demonstration of cooking skills and culinary techniques, and the demonstration of organizational skills, including sanitation principles.

The first Culinary Challenge took place in 2001. That year, Chef Darnell Tate won third place overall at the national level of the competition. His plate of choice featured a marinade pork loin with pineapple and leeks, served with new potatoes, snow peas, and mini carrots with fresh ginger.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

Culinary Challenge 2002 brought Chef Marshall Welch to the national competition in Orlando, Florida. Welch’s dish of pan seared day boat scallops with roasted red pepper, fresh asparagus, and sun dried tomato polenta madeleines, earned him a first place win in Region 3 and subsequently, the opportunity to represent Region 3 at the national level.

The third annual Culinary Challenge took place in 2003, and four UGA chefs won medals at the Region 3 competition. Chef Bryan Haymans won second place overall and earned a silver medal with his pepper encrusted beef tenderloin with port wine demi-glace, polenta cakes and asparagus. Chef Chris Denny earned a silver medal as well, and Chefs Bryan Varin and Paul Oesterle both earned bronze medals for their creations.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In the 2004 competition, two of our chefs were chosen to compete at the regional competition in New Orleans. Chef Bryan Haymans prepared an apple rosemary salmon dish served with sautéed spinach and sweet potato quenelles with a warm maple-cream sauce. Chef Bryan Varin chose to prepare seared salmon with purple potato quenelles, sautéed asparagus and rouille with pear tomato and basil garnish.

UGA's Culinary Team was again chosen to participate in the 2005 regional culinary competition in Chapel Hill . Chef Paul Oesterle prepared herb encrusted medallions of lamb with braised fennel and apple and honey glazed baby carrots. Chef Paul earned a Bronze Medal from the American Culinary Federation for his creation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

With an established record of excellence, the UGA culinary team was selected in 2006 to compete again in the Culinary Challenge, held at the University of New Mexico. Chef Bryan Varin prepared his recipe of Mediterranean chicken with lemon, asparagus and parsley red potatoes in the competition. Chef Bryan received second place in the competition and a bronze medal from the American Culinary Federation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

The 7th annual Culinary Challenge had two University of Georgia chefs competing at the regional level. Chef Bryan Haymans took third place and a Bronze medal with his dish of Hawaiian tofu with pineapple chutney served with coconut rice pilaf and mushroom/asparagus stir-fry. Chef Paul Oesterle's dish of tofu and calamata olive ravioli with sautéed wild mushrooms and green pea sauce took first place and a silver medal. Chef Paul competed with his dish at the 2007 National Competition in Seattle, Washington.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2008, Chef Bryan Varin’s recipe of striped bass with callaloo, spicy black eye peas and key lime butter sauce was selected for competition in the 8th Annual Southern Region Culinary Challenge. His recipe was inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean and included fresh ginger, garlic, jalapenos, coconut milk and cilantro. Chef Bryan placed second in the competition and earned a Silver Medal from the American Culinary Federation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2009, Chef Paul Oesterle's recipe of Pan seared Trout with Roasted corn and apple-wood smoked bacon, wilted baby arugula, and a whole grain mustard cream sauce was selected for the 9th Annual Regional Culinary Challenge held at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte. Chef Paul placed second in the competition and earned a Silver Medal from the American Culinary Federation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2010, Chef Chris Carriera’s recipe of portobello and prosciutto agnolotti, with garlic, spinach, and tomato basil jus was selected for the 10th Annual Regional Culinary Challenge held at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Chef Chris placed second in the competition and earned a Silver Medal from the American Culinary Federation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2011, Chef Shelly Orozco-Marr's recipe of seared beef tri-tip cutlets with tomato jam and buttered horseradish potatoes was selected for the 11th Annual Regional Culinary Challenge held at the Southern Region Conference at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Chef Shelly placed fifth in the competition and earned a Bronze Medal from the American Culinary Federation.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2012, Chef Bryan Hayman's recipe of macadamia crusted flounder with black rice pilaf and tropical salsa served with a pineapple-ginger cream sauce was selected for the 12th Annual Regional Culinary Challenge held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Chef Bryan placed fourth in the competition and earned a Bronze Medal from the American Culinary Federation.

In 2013, Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs prepared a seared duck with pancetta & chevre polenta, thyme butter carrots, sautéed arugula and a spiced madeira cherry jus dish for the 13th Annual Regional Culinary Challenge held at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Chef Shelly earned an American Culinary Federation Silver Medal in the competition.

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2014 Chefs Don Law and Tim Neal represented UGA at Oklahoma State in what was both chefs' first trip to a NACUFS Regional Culinary Challenge. Chef Don earned an American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal with a creative Lobster Pot Pie recipe. Chef Tim also brought home an American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal for a classic Southern Style Lobster Cake recipe. 

 

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge. A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2015 Chef Sam Somar from The Village Summit represented UGA at the Southern Region NACUFS Regional Culinary Challenge at NC State. Chef Sam earned an American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal with his recipe. 

 

 

A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge. A picture of a chef in a culinary challenge.

In 2016 Chef Kenya Moore from Oglethorpe Dining Commons represented UGA at the Southern Region NACUFS Culinary Challenge at Murray State. Chef Kenya earned an American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal with her recipe. 

   

In 2018 Chef India Barfield from the Commissary represented UGA at the Southern Region NACUFS Culinary Challenge at the University of North Texas. Chef India earned an American Culinary Federation Silver medal with her recipe. The ingredients she was required to work with to prepare her dish were 12 Littleneck clams, 12 oysters, and one pound of whole squid, all sourced from Rhode Island.


NACUFS Culinary Challenge

  • 2001

    • Chef Darnell Tate
      • 1st Place Regional Culinary Challenge
      • 3rd place - National Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2002
    • Chef Marshall Welch
      • 1st Place Regional Culinary Challenge
      • National Culinary Challege
  • 2003
    • Chef Bryan Haymans
      • 2nd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
    • Chef Chris Denny
      • Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
    • Chef Bryan Varin
      • Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
    • Chef Paul Oesterle
      • Regional Culinary Challege
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2004
    • Chef Bryan Haymans
      • 3rd Place Regional Culinary Challenge
    • Chef Bryan Varin
      • Regional Culinary Challenge
  • 2005
    • Chef Paul Oesterle
      • Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2006
    • Chef Bryan Varin
      • 2nd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2007
    • Chef Paul Oesterle
      • 1st Place-Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
      • National Culinary Challenge
    • Chef Bryan Haymans
      • 3rd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2008
    • Chef Bryan Varin
      • 2nd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
  • 2009
    • Chef Paul Oesterle
      • 2nd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
  • 2010
    • Chef Chris Carriera
      • 2nd Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Silver Medal
  • 2011
    • Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs
      • 5th Place-Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2012
    • Chef Bryan Haymans
      • 4th Place-Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2013
    • Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs
      • ACF Silver Medal
  • 2014
    • Chef Don Law
      • 6th Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
    • Chef Tim Neal
      • ACF Bronze Medal
      • 4th Place - Regional Culinary Challenge
  • 2015
    • Chef Sam Somar
      • 2nd Place-Regional Culinary Challenge
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2016
    • Chef Kenya Moore
      • ACF Bronze Medal
  • 2018
    • Chef India Barfield
    • ACF Silver Medal
 

The Annual Student Employee Recognition Ceremony was held at Oglethorpe Dining Commons on Saturday, April 18th, 2015. A large attendance of student employees enjoyed games and a fun picnic meal with their co-workers. During the ceremony the Outstanding Student Employee of the Year was announced as well as the Outstanding Student Employee winner from each unit.

Picture of Alvaro Bonaguro

Outstanding Student Employee of the Year 2015

  • Alvaro Bonaguro

Unit Winners

  • T.J. Mock - Catering
  • Dina Sanchez - Commissary
  • Abigail Agyeman - Oglethorpe Dining Commons
  • Tisha Josephs - Bolton Dining Commons
  • Jazmine Avery -  Chick-fil-a
  • Jillian Zaski - Bulldog Café
  • Buford "Donnie" Malone - The Village Summit Commons
  • Brian Wright - Snelling Dining Commons
  • Jade Nielsen - Campus Eateries
  • Emily Miner - Red Clay Café
  • Nina Persaud - Tate Café
  • Kristen Guske - The Niche

Group Picture of students at Bolton

Congratulations to the students of Bolton Dining Commons who earned the most points during the games which won them bragging rights and ownership of the Bulldog Trophy for the upcoming year!

Outstanding Service Excellence Efficiency & Effectiveness Improvement Initiative Award 2014: Composting at UGA Food Services

Silver Award: Awarded to teams, departments or divisions that designed and implemented process improvements or initiatives over the last year that significantly increased effectiveness and efficiency.

Institution: University of Georgia Food Services 

UGA Food Services collaborated with the Office of Sustainability, the Facilities Management Division, and the Bioconversion Center to plan and implement a project that would eliminate all non-compostable items from the dining commons so that pulped food waste could be sent to the on-campus Bioconversion Center and used as compost. The division replaced condiment packets with bulk condiment dispensers, individual coffee creamers with refrigerated dispenser machines, plastic straws with paper straws, and plastic tea bags with silk tea bags. Since implementing this project, 100% of the food waste from the dining commons has been pulped and sent to UGA’s Bioconversion Center where it is combined with landscape “leaf and limb” debris and animal bedding from the UGA campus.

Leading to make a difference. It always sounds simple, but being an effective leader is hard work. To be a true leader, you must be a visionary, a risk taker and a decision maker. You must have a mission that matters and the ability to motivate a diverse groups of employees. You must be able to identify challenges and ways to overcome them. In this new annual awards program, FM proudly recognizes five noncommercial operators who have demonstrated exceptional leadership by taking on difficult or "impossible" operational, motivational or financial challenges and the strategies they used to create standard-setting results.

Meal plan participation at the University of Georgia is totally voluntary. Yet 96% of students who live on campus sign up. Why? Because of FSD's effective marketing strategies have convinced them that they should. J. Michael Floyd is more than just the director of Foodservices at the University of Georgia in Athens. He's also the brains behind the department's successful and award-winning marketing programs, which have boosted 7-day meal plan enrollment 350% over the last 10 years. When he arrived on campus in 1986, "the meal plan program was nearly dead," he remembers. Today, nearly all of the students living on, and a large number living off, campus buy the 7-day meal plan, priced at $2,222/year.

Of course, Floyd is pleased, but there's still room for improvement, he says. "We'll keep telling our story until we've convinced every student that our meal plan program is the best value on campus and an important part of their college experience."

"Telling" his department's story is a passion for Floyd. He instills this passion in his staff and it is the driving force behind every promotion, theme dinner and special event his department puts on.

"Marketing is a critical part of our business, especially given the voluntary-nature of our meal plan, and our customer base, which turns over every year," he says. "It's all about communicating the perceived value of our service and helping students understand it. Meal plan students have access to unlimited food 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM Five days a week in our three main dining halls. I like to compare it to having access to their refrigerators at home. But they won't know that or understand that value unless we continually reinforce it."

"We have to earn our customers' business every day. Every person in this department, from the dishwasher to the dining hall managers, must have that mindset. We are here to serve our customers. If we aren't doing everything we can to meet that goal, then students won't dine with us."

The scope of the UGA foodservice department's marketing efforts is impressive. First, there is its website (www.uga.edu/foodservice). In addition to general information about meal plan programs, foodservice outlets on campus, serving hours, etc., Floyd has posted a chart called "Dare to Compare." "How good is UGA Food Services?" the chart reads. "We dare you to compare." The chart lists eight categories that compare the UGA foodservice program to those at similar campuses.

Floyd adapted this idea from another school's website and he says that "it really reinforces with our customers what makes us special."

Other marketing vehicles include professionally-designed brochures, a poster-size foodservice calendar that customers can use to remind themselves of special theme dinner occasions, dining hall hours and menu options, table tents ("no one else on campus can put table tents in my dining rooms," says Floyd. "That's my marketing area.") and a semester-long Eating Smart class, free to meal plan holders.

One important tagline that appears in all of Floyd's marketing pieces is "Your award-winning foodservice department." Notice the possessive; it's not Our or UGA's department. That's by design.

"I want students to be at home in our dining halls; I want them to feel like these serveries belong to them and that they are successful and a great place to be because of them," Floyd says in explaining the tagline.

Oh yes, about those awards. The foodservice department at UGA has won more than 41 national NACUFS dining awards. It has also been recognized for its outstanding services in dozens of regional and national publications. All of these awards and publications are beautifully framed and displayed at the entrances of the campus' three dining halls, reinforcing to students every time they walk into the halls that they are about to experience award winning food and services.

"It's human nature to want to be a part of a winning team. We could not have won those awards or earned that recognition without our customers' help. So we proudly display our awards to reinforce that message."

Again, Floyd emphasizes, it's all about telling your story. "If I tell it often enough my customers will begin repeating it, too."

Case in point: One day, Floyd was showing students from another nearby school around his foodservice facilities. He pointed out the awards and how proud his customers are of their award-winning Foodservices.

"Students don't care about awards," sniped one visitor. Floyd held his tongue. As they entered another dining hall for lunch, the visitor bumped into a friend from her hometown. She mentioned that they were about to have lunch and her friend said, "You know, we have one of the nations' best college foodservice programs in the country."

Floyd just smiled as he witnessed the fruits of his team's marketing efforts.

The Director's Society is composed of past recipients and the current winner of the Director's Award. These individuals are recognized as the "Top Dawgs" of Food Services. Each year this select group gathers before the annual Food Services Employee Recognition Ceremony to renew their friendships and to assist the Director of Food Services to induct the newest member. The staff members listed below represent the very best in customer service.

  • 1987 - Hazel Roach
  • 1988 - Ed Hutton
  • 1989 - Julie Howard
  • 1990 - Lula Colbert
  • 1991 - Pat Burkett
  • 1992 - Robert McGinnis
  • 1993 - Francis Willis
  • 1994 - Jannie Curry
  • 1995 - James Witcher
  • 1996 - Maxine Moon
  • 1997 - J.W. King, Jr.
  • 1998 - Alice Collins
  • 1999 - Audrey Beasley
  • 2000 - Edna Carson
  • 2001 - Sammy Johnson
  • 2002 - Gussie Mack
  • 2003 - Alice Collins
  • 2004 - Christine Isbell
  • 2005 - Charles Yearby
  • 2006 - Linda Long
  • 2007 - Estelle Webb
  • 2008 - Hilda Butler
  • 2009 - Stanley Johnson
  • 2010 - Harry Thomas
  • 2011 - Lucia Blanco
  • 2011 - Pat Brussack - Honorary Member
  • 2011 - Wayne Fair - Honorary Member
Customer Service Merit Award

Customer Service Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who is an example to others by providing continual oustanding customer service to our customers-coworkers, supervisors, students, faculty, staff or the public. This person goes above and beyond the call of duty to meet customers needs.

Standing next to Tim Burgess is Christine Eberhart of Parking Services, who was the winner of the 2011 Customer Service Merit Award. She is joined by fellow finalists Terri Akers of the Accounting Department, Robert Irwin of Food Services and Christine Long of Directory Assistance. The winner in each category received an engraved crystal bowl.


Newcomer Merit Award Winner

Newcomer Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who, despite lack of time on the job, has significantly contributed to the organizational mission and shown outstanding initiative, reliability and dedication to the University. (Nominees must have less than two years of continuous service with UGA.)

Derek Schuber of the Architects Office was named the winner of the Newcomer Merit Award. To his left are the other finalists: Scott Cohenour of Food Services, Kandice Mitchell of the Payroll Department and Jessica Taylor of Accounts Payable.


Tough Dawg Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who has endured extraordinarily difficult workplace circumstances (overcoming obstacles or challenges) with grace, good humor, patience and exemplary job performance.

Annette Evans of the Procurement Office was honored with the Tough Dawg Merit Award. She is shown standing next to Tim Burgess and was joined onstage by her fellow finalists: Sandra Behr of Food Services, Paul Cassilly of the Architects Office and Gina Roberts of the Budget Department.


Unsung Hero Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who works hard and does the job well, but seldom, if ever, is recognized publicly for his or her work. This person is continually both a real benefit to coworkers and a stable, dependable resource for Finance and Administration as a whole.

Rod Platt of the Physical Plant’s Support Services Department was named the winner of the Unsung Hero Merit Award. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the ceremony and was presented with his award at a later date. Standing next to Tim Burgess are the other three finalists: Tamara Dillard of Food Services, Kathy Webb of the Budget Division and Casey Westbrooks of the Physical Plant’s Building A/C Systems Shop. All 16 merit award finalists and employees with 30 or more years of service were special guests at a luncheon hosted by Senior Vice President Tim Burgess.

The University of Georgia is consistently ranked in the Princeton Review's top 20 college food service programs, based on student satisfaction.

"Making the List"

The low-down on campus food ratings in The Princeton Review.

Findings of surveys are in the news everyday, but some of the most talked about are those from The Princeton Review's guidebook, The Best 378 Colleges, which has queried hundreds of students at selected colleges about the quality of life on campus for nearly 10 years.

One category of interest among college FSDs is the listing of best campus food among those schools surveyed.

FM wanted to know how The Princeton Review conducts its survey and what criteria is used when campus Foodservices are ranked. Here's the scoop, from Paul Cohen, The Review's guidebook editorial director:

"Every two to three years, we survey between 150-200 students on each of the college and university campuses we identify as the best in the country. (Only schools that agree to allow the authors to anonymously survey students are included in the guide.) We ask them to answer 74 questions about their own school's academics and about quality-of-life-on-campus issues."

"In regard to foodservice, we ask respondents to rate their campus dining on a scale of one to five ranging from excellent to awful. Each college is given a 'grade point average' based on the students' answers. This enables us to compare student opinions from college to college. We rank the results and publish them by category," Cohen explains.

The survey is qualitative and anecdotal, rather than scientific, he adds. "The directory's mission is to provide a relatively uncensored view of life at a particular college."


Princeton Review- Best Campus Food- Top 20

  1. 1999 -  18th
  2. 2005 - 20th
  3. 2007 - 15th
  4. 2008 - 20th
  5. 2009 - 12th
  6. 2010 - 7th
  7. 2011 - 6th
  8. 2012 - 15th 
  9. 2013 - 20th

University of Georgia Food Services was recognized by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal with a Governor’s Commendation for Customer Service on April 28, 2011 at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia. This commendation recognizes meritorious actions that enhance the public image of customer service or improve the way customer service is provided in Georgia.

University of Georgia Food Services received this recognition from Governor Deal for the food service the division provided to students at the University of Georgia during the snow storm of January 2011. The Food Service Division kept all four meal plan dining centers open during the inclement weather period and fed over 36,000 meals to students. This award is a tribute to the many Food Service employees that are committed to providing meal service to their customers at the University of Georgia.

A picture of people posing for an award.

Newcomer Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who, despite lack of time on the job, has significantly contributed to the organizational mission and shown outstanding initiative, reliability and dedication to the University. (Nominees must have less than two years of continuous service with UGA.)


Tough Dawg Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who has endured extraordinarily difficult workplace circumstances (overcoming obstacles or challenges) with grace, good humor, patience and exemplary job performance.


Unsung Hero Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who works hard and does the job well, but seldom, if ever, is recognized publicly for his or her work. This person is continually both a real benefit to coworkers and a stable, dependable resource for Finance and Administration as a whole.

A picture of people posing for an award.

University of Georgia Food Services was recognized by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue with a Governor’s Commendation for Customer Service on April 29, 2010 at the State Capital in Atlanta, Georgia. This commendation recognizes meritorious actions that enhance the public image of customer service or improve the way customer service is provided in Georgia. University of Georgia Food Services received this recognition from Governor Perdue for the variety of special events provided for meal plan customers. These events included: Five Star Dinner, Taste of Home, Cafe' Cretaceous, Carnival -A Taste of the World, Confection Connection, Keep on Trucking, and End of the Year Bash.

Group receiving awardBronze Award: Awarded to the teams who have demonstrated outstanding team service to our customers over the last year.

Institution: University of Georgia Food Services Host Orientation Team

Team Leader: Chef Darnell Tate

Director of Food Services: Jeanne Fry

Executive Director of Food Services: J. Michael Floyd

University of Georgia Food Services each summer assigns a Food Service Orientation Host team to assist new students and parents as they visit the campus for their Freshman Orientation experience. The Food Service Orientation Host team act as greeters in dining operations, provide Food Service information in the campus dining operations and at the campus Resource Fair. In addition to these duties they assist visitors with questions about other campus Auxiliary units. The team also assists students to sign up for the campus meal plan and student employment. The Food Service Orientation is comprised of management team members, student management team members and student employees to gain multiple perspectives and strengthen the Orientation experience for new students.

A picture of people posing for an award.

Customer Service Award

In addition to service awards, merit awards were presented in four categories. Finalists for the Customer Service Award were Mike Chalker, Parking Services; Carolyn Dial, Departmental Financial Systems; (Burgess); Glenda Owens, Contracts and Grants (winner); and Paul Oesterle, Food Services.

 

 


A picture of people posing for an award.

Newcomer Award

Finalists for the Newcomer Award were Tysen deDufour, Parking Services; Pete Golden, Security and Emergency Preparedness; (Burgess); Brooks Oliver, Food Services (winner); and Paul Shadowens, Campus Transit.

 

 

 


Tough Dawg Award

The Tough Dawg Award goes to a staff member who has endured extraordinarily difficult workplace circumstances with grace and exemplary performance. Finalists were Linwood Hill, Parking Services; Kirti Leatham, Food Services; Linda Middleton, Directory Assistance; and Kim Thomas, Services Department (winner); with Burgess.


Unsung Hero Award

Finalists for the 2009 Unsung Hero Award were (Burgess); Henry Green, Food Services; Robert McCurley, Welding Shop (winner); Karen Pitts, Bursar’s Office; and Vonnie Swain, Budget Office.

Food Management Magazine Announces 2009 Best Concept Award Winners April, 2009

From spectacular restaurant and station concepts to novel special events and specialized menus, FM's annual awards program highlights the most innovative operations in onsite foodservice.


FM's BEST CONCEPTS AWARDS competition recognizes and celebrates innovative thinking and practice in noncommercial foodservice.

Each year, our editors evaluate entries for scores of nominees before settling on the winners. The entries themselves are judged on a variety of factors ranging from their creativity to their impact on a given program and their effectiveness in achieving targeted results.

At the end of the day, the Best Concept Awards are about IDEAS - great ideas, innovative ideas, think-outside-the-box ideas - that allow onsite operators to manage foodservices more successfully and more efficiently and to better meet customer expectations.

The goal of the Best Concepts Awards program is to recognize these innovations and the organizations and teams responsible for them.

BEST SPECIAL EVENT 

At Trail's End, a Feast

  • WINNER: UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
  • ENTRY: TRAILSIDE TASTE ALONG THE APPALACHIAN

PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Adam Rainville

Assistant Manager, Appalachian Trail hiker and concept originator

  • Paul Oesterle

Chef, Menu support

  • Stacia Fink

Assistant Manager for Décor

  • Anthony Howell, Jessica Fox, Art DiFrancesco

Assistant Managers

  • Janet Rawlings

Manager

  • Jeanne Fry

Director

  • J. Michael Floyd

Executive Director

THE BIG IDEA:

With the famous Appalachian Trail terminating only about 80 miles from UGA's Athens campus, a theme meal celebrating the Trail is a natural. However, what sets this event apart is the meticulous preparation, the painstaking detail and the flawless execution. Not easy when you have to prepare for 8,200 meal plan customers

Held concurrently in four campus dining commons last February 29th, it featured a menu incorporating special dishes from the inns and cafes that dot the Trail from Georgia to Maine as well as examples of "campfire cuisine."

The event was designed to be educational, with informational materials and member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club available to answer questions about hiking the trail. Also on hand was the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Program with information about upcoming outdoor trips and a local camping equipment retailer (Half Moon Outfitters) with displays and demos.

As for the food, the menu included unusual trail concoctions like "spambalaya" and Limas With Ramps

A picture of people posing for an award.

Customer Service Award

Awarded to a Finance and Administration employee who is an example to others by providing continual outstanding service to our customers—coworkers, supervisors, students, faculty, staff or the public. This employee goes above and beyond the call of duty to meet customers’ needs

 A picture of people posing for an award.

University of Georgia Food Services was recognized by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue with a Governor’s Commendation for Customer Service on January 29, 2008 at the State Capital in Atlanta, Georgia. This commendation recognizes meritorious actions that enhance the public image of customer service or improve the way customer service is provided in Georgia. University of Georgia Food Services received this recognition from Governor Perdue for the establishment of 24 hour dining for students. This project is a great example of how to make state institutions more accessible and friendlier to the customers they serve. The improvements in service, convenience and safety are a great example of making government services faster, friendlier and easier.

The Outstanding Customer Service Leadership Award recognizes a leader in a department, division, program or institution who, through his or her leadership in customer service, has made a significant, positive impact on customer service to the citizens and customers of the University System of Georgia over the last year.

Honorable Mention

Mike Floyd
Director of University of Georgia Food Services
University of Georgia

Initiative: UGA again garnered national attention when it became the first university food services operation in the country to offer unlimited 24-hour dining to its students.

A picture of people posing for an award.

Customer Service Award

Merit awards for outstanding service were introduced at the 2007 Recognition Day Ceremony. Shown are the finalists for the Customer Service Award (from L-R.): Winner Sandra Patterson of Food Services - Snelling (Auxiliary and Administrative Services), who received an engraved bowl for her achievement; Don Coleman of Campus Mail (Auxiliary and Administrative Services); Senior Vice President Tim Burgess; Mattie Few of North Campus Custodial (Physical Plant); and Gina Roberts of the Budget Department (Budget Division).

A picture of people posing for an award.

Food Services was recognized by Chick-fil-A in 2006 with its Operational Excellence Award for outstanding customer service. This award was presented to the Bulldog Café's licensed Chick-fil-A operation for achieving the highest customer service ranking among college and university campus locations in 2005. University of Georgia Food Services has been a licensed Chick-fil-A operator since 2002.

 

Food Management Magazine April, 2005

2005 Best Concepts Award Winners

Top-quality food. Cutting-edge design. Innovative marketing programs.

The idea behind FM's annual Best Concepts awards competition is to recognize readers whose operations demonstrate both leading edge thinking and bottom-line results.Our editors pored over scores of entries to select the winning concepts and organizations that follow.

Best Special Event

Let the Argentines Roll!

UGA's theme event found an unusual subject with a great food tie-in

  • What: Tango Argentina
  • Where: Bolton, Oglethorpe and Snelling Dining Halls, University of Georgia at Athens
  • Project Team: J. Michael Floyd (director), Jeanne Fry (assistant director), Susan van Gigch (manager-Bolton Dining Commons), Paul Oesterle (Bolton chef), Henry Green, Gregg Hudson, Richard Bohannon

The Big Idea: Theme events can easily get into a repetitive rut, but UGA Dining found a fairly unusual hook — marrying an Argentine "gaucho" theme with a dance instruction event (teaching the tango) and a dinner of Argentinian food. The fairly unique combination more than satisfied the requirement of any theme event in a college dining hall—getting the customers curious, interested and excited to attend. The theme allowed the planners to use original decorations and props centered on gauchos (Argentine cowboys) and the tango, while the tango lessons and subsequent dancing gave participants something to engage in beside simply eating. The food, meanwhile, highlighted the culinary staff's imagination and expertise, with exotic fare such as milanesas (thin, fried cutlets), chorizo sausage, flan and roasted goat.

Floyd & Food Services win Community Champion Award

A picture of people posing for an award.

J. Michael Floyd, department head of Food Services, received the 2003 Community Champion Award for his involvement with the Full Plate Food Recovery program. Food Services donates leftover food to homeless feeding sites in the northeast Georgia area. The award was presented to Floyd at the Georgia Community Action Association's 2003 Human Rights Day Conference in Atlanta.

Floyd has also worked on combating hunger on a national level, serving as the liaison for the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) to the Council for Noncommercial Food Services' Hunger Program. He received the 1994 Richard Lichtenfelt Award from NACUFS for his work on this project.

INTERNATIONAL FOODSERVICE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION

History of the Gold and Silver Plate Awards

2002 marks the 47th anniversary of IFMA's Gold and Silver Plate Awards. For 47 years these awards have acknowledged, with highest tribute, the most outstanding operator talents in our $411 billion foodservice industry. Since its inception in 1955, the Gold and Silver Plate program has followed the tradition of "recognizing excellence to encourage excellence."

As the highest possible honor in the industry, the Gold and Silver Plate Awards program has grown and evolved in response to the rigorous demands of an industry which itself has experienced continued growth and evolution. In this way, the Gold and Silver Plate Awards program has reached and maintained its coveted position as the most significant and widely-recognized tribute in our very demanding, complex and ever-growing industry.

Perhaps it will be of interest to you that when this traditional event began in 1955, and for the next thirteen years, it was exclusively a Gold Plate Awards program, where one award was given annually - - the Gold Plate Award. (In 1958 and 1959, three Gold Plate Awards were granted simultaneously.)

By 1968, it was apparent that one award could not justly represent the various management skills of the many diverse segments making up the total foodservice industry. How could a restaurant operator, for example, be fairly compared to a military, hospital or university foodservice operator? The analogy of comparing apples to oranges was a sound argument.

So, beginning in 1968, seven categories representing the full spectrum of the foodservice industry were delineated, and the outstanding operator from each segment was awarded IFMA's newly created Silver Plate Award. Then, from that pool of seven Silver Plate recipients, the Gold Plate Award winner, or "Foodservice Operator of the Year" was selected.

In 1973, the number of Silver Plate Awards was increased to eight when the category previously called Commercial Restaurants was divided to form two new categories: Full Service Restaurants and Fast Service Restaurants.

Several years later, a task force was formed to evaluate the nomination form once again. At that time, a ninth category was added: Independent Restaurant Operator. And, the Public Institutions and Military category was incorporated into the Health Care category. Business and Industry (another new category) took over this slot.

In 1989, the Gold Plate Awards Task Force met once again to analyze the nomination process and incorporate any changes needed. The Task Force voted and decided on the following nine categories: Independent Restaurant Operator; Chain Full Service; Chain Fast Service; Health Care; Elementary and Secondary Schools; Colleges and Universities; Contract Food Management; Business and Industry; Hotels and Lodging.

In 1994, the category structure was revamped again only slightly: the Business & Industry and Contract Food Management categories were combined to make a single category. Also, a new category, Specialty Foodservices, was created to include operator segments (such as clubs, off-premises caterers, correctional institutions, military foodservice, leisure and theme parks, stadiums and sports arenas, airlines and cruise ships) that had not previously fit within the awards category structure.

Today the Silver Plate Award is granted in the following nine categories:

  1. Independent Restaurant Operator
  2. Chain Full Service
  3. Chain Fast Service
  4. Health Care
  5. Elementary and Secondary Schools
  6. Colleges and Universities
  7. Contract Food Management
  8. Business and Industry
  9. Hotels and Lodging

Judging for the Gold and Silver Plate recipients always has been a matter of utmost seriousness and integrity although, like the Gold and Silver Plate program itself, the Awards Jury has undergone a number of changes.

The very first Gold Plate recipient was judged by a jury of five university professors and in subsequent years, foodservice publication editors made up the Jury, with one editor acting as chairperson. In 1978, we added to this group the previous year's Silver Plate recipients as well.

Nomination forms for the Gold and Silver Plate Awards are disbursed widely throughout the industry, being sent to all trade publications, IFMA's individual manufacturing members, associate and allied members, nonmember manufacturers, chain operators and sister trade associations.

Every winter, the Gold and Silver Plate Awards Jury convenes for a day-long meeting where each of the nominees in every category is considered on the basis of these criteria:

  1. Foodservice management and operating techniques
  2. Employee training programs, motivation and expansion of career opportunities
  3. Membership and participation in professional foodservice organizations
  4. Other contributions to the prestige and public image of the foodservice industry, including participation in civic, community, charitable, educational and other affairs which illustrate social responsibility

Once the nine Silver Plate winners are selected, the Jury goes on to choose, by secret ballot, one of the nine as "Foodservice Operator of the Year," the Gold Plate Award winner, on the basis of the same criteria. A representative from Price Waterhouse collects and tallies the ballots. By the nature of the secret ballot, not even the Jury members know the name of the Gold Plate recipient unit it is revealed at the Gold and Silver Plate Awards Banquet in May.

The IFMA Gold and Silver Plate Awards Banquet, which annually recognizes the new class of Silver Plate Award recipients, is a showcase of the foodservice industry and one of the most prestigious culinary events of the year. Over hundreds of foodservice notable gather to pay tribute to the award winners and to enjoy an evening of outstanding cuisine. The multi-course menu is painstakingly developed by the Chicago Hilton's Chef and banquet staff and is taste-tested by IFMA's President and a panel of invited guests before final approval. It is a measure of the foodservice industry's immense talent and creativity that such a banquet can be successfully presented to such a large group while still consistently maintaining the high quality, flair and essence of hospitality that is an integral part of the industry.

Restaurants USA, May 1998

SIMPLY THE BEST

A complete list of the 1998 Great Menu Design Contest winners

Institutional Foodservice

  • First Place: Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., New York, NY
  • Second Place: The Morris Inn Dining Room, Notre Dame, IN
  • *** Third Place: University of Georgia Food Services, Athens, GA
  • Best of Show: Big Bowl, Chicago, IL

Grand Prize Winners

  • First Place: Obachine(Dinner Menu), Santa Monica, CA
  • Second Place: 301 (Wine List), San Francisco, CA
  • Third Place: Damon's (Dessert Menu), Columbus, OH

Restaurant: Average Check Under $8 Per Person

  • First Place: Bulldog Deli, Inc., Starkville, MS
  • Second Place: Wrapsody, Dayton, OH
  • Third Place: Bixby's Bagels and Eats, Edina, MN

Restaurant: Average Check $8 to $15 Per Person

  • First Place: River Wildlife, Kohler, WI
  • Second Place: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Newark, DE
  • Third Place: Holiday Inn Hotels (Breakfast Menu), Atlanta, GA

Restaurant: Average Check Over $15 Per Person

  • First Place: Long Ridge Tavern, Stamford, CT
  • Second Place: Bistro-An American Cafe, Bismarck, ND
  • Third Place: Arroyo Grille, Philadelphia, PA

Banquet Catering

  • First Place: Hotel Pattee, Perry, IA
  • Second Place: Mary Brady's Catering, Novi, MI
  • Third Place: Dayton Convention Center, Fine Host Corporation, Dayton, OH

Specialty

  • First Place: Sazerac, Seattle, WA
  • Second Place: Friday's American Bar (Beverage Menu), Dallas, TX
  • Third place: T.G.I. Friday's (Dessert Menu), Dallas, TX

Most Unusual

  • First Place: Obachine(Lunch Menu), Santa Monica, CA
  • Second Place: Altos, Phoenix, AZ
  • Third Place: McGuffey's Restaurant, Asheville, NC

Looking for examples of exemplary menu design?

Look no further.

By Emily Arnoult

A careful blend of form and function in a menu produces the perfect vehicle to convey the essence of your restaurant to the customer. Like aromas that kindle the senses, a good design and a well-communicated theme spark the imagination-and higher sales. The winners of this year's Great Menu Design Contest show that it is possible to have a bill of fare that is functional while still having flair.

Best of Show, Big Bowl Chicago

"We take the attitude that [the menu] is a guide to a new journey," says Kevin Brown, president of Big Bowl, a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant. For this journey, the menu advises guests to "travel light," an approach that the contest judges felt comes through in the menu's clean design and simplicity. "We wanted a combination of user-friendly and readable, but at the same time, we wanted it to be used like a guided tour. Our servers are guides. Our menus are educational, with the history of the food, and explain to what degree we go to produce fresh Asian cooking." Fortune-cookie-like directions to life encourage readers to "smile frequently," "talk slowly," but "think fast" and to "slurp freely" and "see clearly."

The menu is part of an integrated approach to presenting the Big Bowl image. Warm honey-colored woods, deep greens and earth tones are used in the restaurant. The menu echoes the color scheme and the simplicity of the restaurant interior by using a single wooden chopstick on the cover and cream-colored pages accented with red italics and floating, wavy descriptions on the inside.

Although the format of the menu makes changes a little more difficult, and the investment was bigger than initially planned, Brown says he believes that the menu has been a great marketing tool and that guests get a lot of excitement from it.

"We want to make sure the customer has a complete experience when they come in. We want them to feel the excitement that we have about the food and the warmth of the restaurant. And we can put this in their hands to help them see that — and, of course, to help them decide [what to order]."

First Place Grand Prize Obachine [Dinner Menu] Santa Monica, California

The list of requirements for Obachine's new menu was long, says Frank Guidara, president and CEO of Wolfgang Puck Food Company. "We wanted our menu to be artistic and to carry the Asian theme, and we wanted it to tell a story about the concept and include the Oba leaf — the inspiration for the name of the restaurant."

Emphasizing the family-style items and offering wine selections were other considerations. They also wanted to describe, reflect and effectively complement the pieces of Asian art decorating the walls. Coping with so many demands, they knew that they would have to be careful in the design stage so that they would end up with an all-inclusive yet intriguing menu.

The painstaking process began with the custom design of a font that had an Asian but readable look to it and the search for the perfect paper. Guidara says it was Seth Anderson who really brought everything together. "He was part designer, part printer, part everything," Guidara says.

"It's been a labor-intensive production," he says. The paper is handmade and the brass plate is individually made and applied. Producing the gold die-cut is an intricate process, Guidara admits, but he says the overwhelmingly positive results make the effort worthwhile.

When they were finished, they knew they had a striking design-so striking that they expected some of the menus might be stolen. They have been pleasantly surprised that a few menus have been returned. "People have just appreciated them that much," says Guidara.

Second Place Grand Prize 301 [Wine List] San Francisco

The idea for the wine menu at 301 was to echo the look of the restaurant and the different textures used throughout, says Jim Brophy, a graphic designer with Off-Center Design Group in Wheaton, Illinois, which designed the menu. The building that houses 301 is narrow and small. Light woods and soft greens dominate the color scheme, with accents of gold and other colors. The cover of the menu echoes those colors and the square patterns that are used throughout the interior of the restaurant.

"We wanted to give the menu a bit of an Asian flair but not overdo it," says Brophy. The initial designs used woods of varying thickness, which gave the menus a heavy feeling. The resulting design — narrow, folded, corrugated cardboard tied with a moss-green ribbon — is softer and easier to handle and better reflects the comfortable look and feel of the restaurant, he explains.

"People buy things based on how they look and feel, and a good menu is really an extension of that," says Brophy. "Because wine lists are the counterparts to main menus, they often do not get as much design attention, but this would be something that people would want to pick up and see."

Third Place Grand Prize Damon's International [Dessert Menu] Columbus, Ohio

Michael Branigan, vice president of marketing for Damon's International, describes himself as a "nostalgia freak." He says that as he watched the reintroduction of songs and toys that he once played with, the idea for Damon's dessert menu came naturally to him — a View-Master with images of the restaurant's dessert offerings. "Nostalgia is about comforting things from childhood that are very memorable. No one has bad feelings about a View-Master."

The uniqueness of the toy, and the staying power of memories surrounding it, were in tune with what Damon's wanted from a menu. "In the merchandising world, a menu needs to be unique, and it needs to be memorable," says Branigan. As a father who logs a lot of time at toy stores, Branigan says he is struck by the inherent intelligence of children's toys. "I look for different ways to use them," he says. The nostalgia evoked by the View-Master and the customer interaction it inspires at the table are among the phenomenal outcomes of the menu's debut, explains Branigan.

To keep the menu fresh and new to customers, the photos on the image wheels are changed periodically, just as any menu would vary selections from time to time. Photos for the wheel require special setup, and wheel production requires a long lead time. Although the production process is difficult, the extra preparation is well worth it to bring nostalgia to the table, Branigan says.

First Place, Institutional Foodservice Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. New York City

New York City-based Restaurant Associates produces menus for all of its clients, but few have offered the creative outlet found in designing the menu for Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., says John Harding, vice president, director of marketing.

Harding came up with the idea to use the "jewel boxes" (as the plastic compact-disc containers are called in the industry), and in-house art director Doug Newton helped to design them. The artwork for the menu is taken from photographs by Lou Manna of three-dimensional murals displayed in cafeterias at Sony. The murals portray different ethnic foods, particularly those found in the New York City area.

The jewel boxes were very inexpensive — about 3 cents each — and Sony, of course, had plenty of them on hand. About 2,000 menus were made and distributed to employees through interoffice mail. "The menu has been very effective in increasing office-catering sales at Sony," says Harding.

Harding has been pleased with the response, and he says the menu has effectively conveyed a message. "We offer our foodservice accounts the excitement, the quality and the programs that people would expect to find in any fine restaurant. Wraps, sushi, anything you'd find in a New York City restaurant. Part of that is the menu — we bring that same excitement to foodservice," he says.

First Place, Specialty Sazerac Seattle

Jewel-toned baubles dangling from the artisan-made chandeliers in Sazerac inspired Niki Leondakis, vice president of The Kimpton Restaurant Group, to design the winning drink-and-appetizer menu for Sazerac. With such an artistic basis, the rest came easily to Leondakis, who designed the menu with the help of graphic designer Pat Walsh. "The actual idea development was a five-minute process," says Leondakis. "I wanted the same whimsical and fun ideas of the decor of the restaurant to be evident in the menu." A huge copper ribbon wrapping over the restaurant's entrance also proved to be a rich source of inspiration. It is reflected in the copper dangling star and the copper binding on the menu.

Colored beads on curling copper wires that twist out of the binding also give a nod to the restaurant's Big Easy basis. "Our chef, Jan Birnbaum, has spent a great deal of time in New Orleans, and the first thing you think of when you think of New Orleans is Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras beads," says Leondakis.

The restaurant's roots also run deep in the menu's offerings. Handcrafted cocktails that offer tastes of the South are listed in fun fonts and accented with clever descriptions-cocktails like "Sazerac," described as "The Traditional Cocktail of New Orleans"; "El Nino," which the menu says is "making everybody weird"; and the "Side Car," which, the menu claims, "Your grandmother drank them — and she knew what she was doing." The flip side of the menu reveals Sazerac's selection of "tasty morsels," "perfect little bites" and items "for the sweet tooth."

The menu is designed to sit atop the bar so customers can read either side. "It inspires impulse buying, because it is so eye-catching," says Leondakis. "We've had a great response."

National Restaurant Association © Copyright. All rights reserved. Reprint with permission only.

Emily Arnoult is a staff writer at the National Restaurant Association.

©Copyright 2004 National Restaurant Association

1200 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20036 202-331-5900

Restaurants & Institutions Magazine presents the 1995 Ivy Award to J. Michael Floyd and The University of Georgia Food Services Staff - May 1995

"True leadership stems from professionals who preserve the traditions of excellence even as they achieve success. By their eminence, they lend direction to the world of service. Restaurants & Institutions salutes restaurants of distinction, selected by the most critical judges, their colleagues and competitors."

The History of the Ivy Award

Restaurant criticism is not an exclusive profession. All Americans who eat away from home believe themselves qualified for the job. To some extent, they are correct. Since the dining experience is very personal, there is no right or wrong taste. Nevertheless, nearly every newspaper and TV station has its restaurant expert who advises readers on the best places to eat. Bookstores are filled with publications that rate restaurants. Every city magazine contains a restaurant guide.

In each of these cases, the judgments are made by people who are restaurant customers-- people who make no attempt to determine whether the restaurant meets the highest standards of professional operation.

In 1970, Restaurants & Institutions decided that the industry deserved something more. It needed a way to honor its own. We felt that the most important recognition should come from other professionals in the same business. Only professionals understand what it takes to adapt excellence to the reality of business.

And so the Ivy Award was born.

An Ivy Award winner is a member for life, part of this most prestigious society and welcome each year to attend the award dinner. Each year it is past Ivy Award winners who nominate a new slate of meritorious restaurants, hotels and institutions to join the Ivy Society. And then it is the readers of our magazine, via a special ballot circulated to all 162,000 of them, who vote on which they think are most deserving of this high honor.

The result, not unlike the Academy Awards, is recognition by one's peers that is unsurpassed anywhere else in the food service industry. The winners represent the very best our industry has to offer.

People often ask me how an Ivy winner is measured.

Is it financial success? The quality of the food? The caliber of service? The decor? Cleanliness? Creativity?

The answer is that it is all of these--and something more.

As you travel across the country, I know you will enjoy visiting our Ivy Society members, whether you are an amateur gourmet or a food service professional.