Hope College Dining Services’ excellence in offering international cuisine has won the national grand prize in the Residential Dining Concepts category in the 2019 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards program of the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS).
The award was announced on Saturday, July 13, during the NACUFS 2019 National Conference, held in Denver, Colorado.
The college’s dining service has received the honor for the GLOBE station in the Phelps Hall Dining Hall, which across the school year features cuisine from multiple cultures around the world. Hope was chosen from among programs at institutions of all sizes, from small colleges to large, Division I universities. The college was competing as the top medium-sized program in the category, recognition received earlier in the year.
“I’m proud of our team for the recognition,” said Dan Zehr, director of dining services at Hope. “Our entire staff is involved in the GLOBE station, and without them and their hard work, dedication and love of Hope College, we would not have won.”
NACUFS presents awards in six categories, including not only Residential Dining Concepts, but also Residential Dining Facility, Residential Dining-Special Event, Retail Sales-Single Concept/Multiple Concepts/Marketplace, Catering-Special Event and Catering-Online Menu. Programs initially vie for bronze, silver, gold or honorable-mention recognition in the six categories grouped by size: small, medium or large. Announced in the spring, the top size-winners within each category then compete for that category’s grand prize.
Hope College Dining Services was the only medium-sized program to have won an award in the Residential Dining Concepts category this year, receiving bronze recognition in May. Criteria included menu, merchandising and presentation, marketing, nutrition and wellness, and additional considerations such as hours of operation, the involvement of student employees and emphasis on sustainability.
Phelps Dining Hall, which is the college’s primary dining space, is an all-you-care-to-eat facility, open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Attendance peaks during lunch with an average count of 1,253.
The Globe station is available during every lunch and dinner, and occasionally for breakfast. It generally features food from at least five nations or regions on its menu, ranging from Chinese, to Mexican, to Indian, to Mediterranean, to African.
“We seek to offer a complete menu that incorporates as many nationalities as possible,” Zehr said. “We really strive for authenticity in our menu offerings — to provide what our international student population from those communities would expect to see at home, and to enable other students to experience cuisine that they may not have had an opportunity to try before. We’re pleased that the station has been continuing to grow in popularity with the entire campus community.”
In addition to the Globe station, the daily menu at the Phelps Dining Hall offers options including “comfort food” entrees, pizza, sandwiches made to order, and vegetarian and allergen-aware areas. There is also a full salad bar along with a self-serve breakfast nook. The food served is made fresh daily with natural ingredients. In addition, 43 percent of all food and goods purchased are grown, packaged or manufactured within a 250-mile radius.
In addition to Phelps Dining Hall, the college’s dining service operates Cook Dining Hall and retail spaces like the Kletz Market in the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center; the Cup & Chaucer café in the Van Wylen Library; and concessions at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse, Ray and Sue Smith Stadium, Van Andel Soccer Stadium and Knickerbocker Theatre.
Founded in 1958, NACUFS consists of institutions of higher education across the United States, Canada and abroad, and industry members from the food, equipment and consulting market segments. Since its inception, NACUFS has sought to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining by providing members with the programs and resources they need to receive, from benchmarking and best practices to educational programming and professional networking.
Named for a NACUFS founder, past president and highly regarded innovator, the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards program celebrates exemplary menus, presentations, special-event planning and new dining concepts, and provide an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations in dining services.
Hope dining services programs have received several awards through the years, including most recently a gold award in the Residential Dining Concepts category in 2018; honorable mention in the Residential Dining-Special Event category in 2017; and a silver award in the Residential Dining-Special Event category in 2016.