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UMass Amherst Dining Services receives 2008 Ivy Award

The University of Massachusetts Dining Services has been awarded one of Restaurants and Institutions (R’I) Magazine’s 2008 Ivy Awards for excellence in the food service industry.

“This is the award that every dining establishment would love to have,” said Executive Director of UMass Dining Services Ken Toong.

The R’I Ivy Awards are given annually to food service institutions that demonstrate the highest standards of achievement in food, service and overall hospitality.

This year, UMass, Alinea restaurant in Chicago, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas, Hotel Healdsburg in Healdsburg, Calif., Per Se restaurant in New York City and the Presbyterian Hospital of Plano, Texas received Ivy Awards.

R’I Magazine bills itself as a leading source of information in both print and online for the food service industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions such as UMass.

According to R’I’s Web site, every year since its establishment in 1971, the past Ivy Award recipients nominate restaurants, hotels and noncommercial institutions for the prestigious award. The winners are then chosen based on votes from the readers of R’I, which include over 154,000 subscribers.

The subscribers consist of executives who operate independent and chain restaurants, hospitals, colleges, schools, airline food services, hotels and resorts, as well as distributors and consultants in the food service supplies industry.

The acknowledgement of excellence from one’s peers can be the most significant aspect for the recipients of the Ivy Award, according to Toong.

“It’s especially meaningful because it means UMass Amherst has been recognized by its peers for being one of the best in the business,” said Toong.

The 2008 Ivy Award declared UMass Dining Services “a model for contemporary campus food service.”

The Ivy Award continued its praises of UMass by acknowledging the University’s efforts in health education for the students.

“The University’s dining services department is educating students about health, nutrition and environmental responsibility while introducing them to a world of food and flavors,” the magazine wrote.

The Ivy Award recognized the diverse programs and dining services offered here at UMass including the guest chef program, the campus’ multiple dining stations, as well as the use of international cuisine and local food services.

The Ivy Award is just one of the many honors that UMass Dining Services has received in the past year from peers in the food service industry. In 2007, the University was awarded the Loyal E. Horton Dining Contest grand prize by the National Association of College and University Food Services in the category of Residential Dining Program. Also in 2007, UMass received the Best Concepts Award from Food Management magazine.

The six winners of the Ivy Award will be inducted into the Ivy Society as members for life in Chicago on May 18. The recipients will attend the gala awards dinner during the National Restaurant Association Show. In addition to their induction into the Ivy Society, the winners will be featured in the May 1 issue of R’I magazine.

Jennifer Heshion can be reached at

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