Magazine article University Business

A Recipe for Success: Integrating Kosher Kitchens with a Broader Dining Program

Magazine article University Business

A Recipe for Success: Integrating Kosher Kitchens with a Broader Dining Program

Article excerpt

START WITH AN UNDERstanding of campus culture, stir in a strong sense of community, blend in a brand new dining facility and dining program, season with an educational component, and simmer for a sensory delight that will satisfy the hardiest appetite.

Muhlenberg College (Pa.) began the request for proposal process for a new dining contract and embarked on a $20 million major renovation to its student union, including a new campus restaurant, at the same time. We realized two fully functional, independent kosher kitchens had to be in the plan. I was vaguely familiar with Jewish culture, but little did I realize how engulfed I would become in Kashrut (kosher) Laws. The key to success for us hinged on designing a program and facility that would integrate the kosher food platform, called The Noshery, into the Food Gallery:

We did not want to segregate some of our student body simply to meet their religious needs. Students seeking kosher meals should be able to break bread with their friends. We also wanted to ensure these platforms could meet the needs of the rest of our community, and create an educational component. The Campus Restaurant features the Food Gallery, a state-of-the-art culinary facility designed to meet the growing and evolving needs of today's students. The Wildfire Grille, for example, features two separate grills, griddles, and fryers along with color-coded utensils, and extensive training to separate meat from vegetable preparation. Kosher just seemed to be a natural fit and the opportunity to build a new dining facility was perfect timing.

The production kitchen has been reduced by nearly a third from its original size since much of the food is now prepared right in front of the customer and is transparent to our Food Gallery customers. This adds an element of entertainment, provides fast service, and aids in reducing food and labor costs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

All Food Gallery platforms are vegan-, vegetarian-, and gluten-friendly, and The Noshery is no different. More and more students are clamoring for these options. For now, these platforms may give us a competitive advantage. But Sodexo, the vendor who retained our dining services contract, has a strong sense that this integrated Kosher option, along with the vegan/vegetarian focus, will be the model for the future. …

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