On July 23, Notre Dame’s own Charu Chandra Pant, CEC, test kitchen chef, and Greg Larson, CEC, unit chef, North Dining Hall, took first place at the 2013 ACF National Championship Collegiate Dining Challenge.
Foodservice programs at colleges and universities regularly serve thousands of meals a day. Executive chefs and their culinary teams are taxed with providing safe, wholesome food, quality and consistency to a group of diners who travel, enjoy food, are well-versed in various ethnic cuisines and have come to expect a high level of food and service. The competitors in this fast-paced cook-off faced a daunting task: prove that the food they serve on campus to students, faculty and guests is superior to that of their peers.
The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) recruited six two-person teams from some of the best college foodservice programs in the country to take part in the challenge. These intrepid competitors came to Las Vegas determined to give it the old college try. The six teams of two chefs each prepared two restaurant platters of four servings for each course of a three-course meal: appetizer, soup or salad; entree with appropriate accompaniments; and dessert. Teams had 15 minutes for setup, 2½ hours to fabricate and cook, 30 minutes for plating and 15 minutes to clean up.
NACUFS, headquartered in Okemos, Mich., has supported the college and university foodservice industry since its founding in 1958. Its mission is to promote the highest quality of foodservice on school, college and university campuses.