In March, UMass Dining attended the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Culinary Challenge, which is a competition between five regions held in Nashville, Tennessee. Our very own Chef Robert Bankert competed at the annual competition and won first place and a gold medal!
According to Chef Bob, “building relationships with farmers is the most important part of sourcing local foods.” Because of the tremendous buying power of an institution like UMass, large changes can be made to the food system through local sourcing initiatives over time. “However, tremendous amounts of purchasing, if handled poorly, can really affect farmers if there is not an open line of communication and relationship there,” Chef Bob clarified.
UMass Dining has a goal for all of the Dining Commons to feature all local lettuce and greens on the salad bar all year long, and has already committed to sourcing local arugula, romaine, and mesclun. Queen's Greens is playing an integral part in reaching this goal by supplying local greens to UMass Dining in colder months using greenhouses to extend their growing season.
“I just love food and flavors and I like to teach people how to cook. Food is satisfying in a lot of different ways and brings people together.”
- Chef Bob, UMass Dining
Thanks so much Chef Bob for taking the time for this interview and for all of your hard work to make UMass Dining more sustainable!
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