MPS Culinary & Nutrition Services, led by director Bertrand Weber, was awarded the Best of Show honor for the transformation it has effected over the past four years in how food for the district’s 36,000-plus students is produced as well as what is served. Under Weber, MPS has progressed from an operation that relies primarily on centrally produced prepackaged meals utilizing processed ingredients to one that emphasizes scratch cooking, fresh ingredients and more locally sourced product.
Best Menu—Tapas at Boston College
Tapas is a station deployed during the dinner period at Boston College’s Stuart Dining Hall that offers small-portion, shareable selections from a wide range of cuisines. The menu’s flexibility allows the BC dining team to experiment and innovate while the design of the selections offers broad appeal to students wishing to try different things.
Best Renovation—Central Table at Barnes Jewish Hospital
Originally opened in 2013 as a food hall, Central Table was relaunched last year as a full-service restaurant focused on local foods, sustainability and serving as a local community gathering spot complete with exotic menu selections, handcrafted cocktails and an event space that invites the neighborhood to join in. While definitely an eye-catching renovation, Central Table’s transformation is also an excellent example of an operator willing to change even a recently opened concept to something that better serves its customers’ preferences.
Best New Facility—Café 83 at Microsoft
A “Fun, Artistic Food Pavilion,” Café 83 is a new 10-station dining venue on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., that features exhibition cooking suites integrated into seating areas, rotating local restaurant concepts, a 24/7 micromarket, cashless/cashierless ordering and payment and a specialty cuisine station that features dishes made with locally caught fish. The café, designed in conjunction with Microsoft’s dining services partner Eurest, is an outstanding example of a high-end dining platform designed to attract a sophisticated in-house customer base.
Best Convenience Retailing Concept: Food To Go at Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
A catering outlet definitely off the beaten campus path—it’s in an old bank building about a mile from campus—Food To Go combines convenient pickup with last-minute flexibility. A drive-thru area allows cars to pull up and have their preordered catering requests loaded, while the former bank foyer works like a retail store where customers can come in and get what they need, from dairy to bakery items, without need to preorder.
Best Management Company Concept—eat.learn.live School Garden Program from Chartwells School Dining
Chartwells School Dining
The School Garden program is a comprehensive aid to help guide Chartwells client districts successfully develop, grow and sustain school gardens regardless of space, climate or resources they may have. It includes a detailed garden playbook loaded with instructive and creative gardening tips, nutrition education materials and guidance for building community garden support. The program is an excellent example of a management company using its considerable resources to develop a solution for clients in a high-impact area requiring specific knowledge.
Best Special Event—Every Menu Has a Story at Senior Living Communities
Senior Living Communities
Every Menu Has a Story is a special evening meal that bases the custom-designed menu on a story from the life of a particular resident of the community where it is held. The concept is a particularly effective and intimate way to connect the members of the community with each other’s lives while using food and the creative skills of the culinary staff as the common point of reference.
Best Wellness Concept—Peak Performance Packs at Chandler (Ariz.) USD
Peak Performance Packs are boxes of food designed for the nutritional needs of student athletes in three areas: endurance, muscle building and rapid recovery. Each pack contains a selection of foods designed to help meet that particular goal. The concept is an innovative adjunct to the district’s meal program that addresses an important segment need in the K-12 environment, that of the student athlete.
Best Station Concept—Oatrageous from TouchPoint
Oatrageous is an action station concept where customers can engage with chefs while they watch steel-cut oatmeal being pan-seared and then topped with the customer’s choice of additions ranging from apple compote to cherries jubilee. The concept leverages a very healthful base product prepared in an unusual way with customer-pleasing additions that drive sales.