This month the William Jewell College cafeteria won the Liberty Award Program and was named “Best of 2015 Food & Restaurants.” This award gives recognition to local businesses in the area that have demonstrated the ability to use their best practices to generate competitive advantages and long-term values.
More specifically, the Award Program annually identifies the companies that they believe have achieved marketing success in their community and business category.
“The Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. This organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Their mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy. Candidates are nominated by people within the local community” said Taylor Strecker, director of Dining Services.
In addition to receiving an award this year, the dining hall staff has also been making changes to the food options in the cafeteria.
Strecker speaks about the inspiration behind some of the new, healthier dining options.
“Student feedback is the main inspiration. We also have a new certified executive chef this semester, Chef Jim Tinkham” said Strecker.
Chef Tinkham is the President of the American Culinary Federation of Kansas City. He was recently awarded the title of Chef of the Year for 2014-2015.
“He is one of the top chefs in the city right now and certainly one of the most respected. We are very lucky to have him on our team. We also have a new Sous Chef, Chef Bryce Klein, who is a certified sous chef. He has worked for Michael Smith at Extra Virgin, The Elms Resort, Affare and 801 Fish. This is a top notch leadership team in the kitchen.
“Look for some new and exciting offerings coming in the Cage next semester,” said Strecker.
This year the dining hall staff has been paying closer attention to accommodating students with allergies and specific diets. They have been changing the menus to meet the needs of the students and faculty. When they hear that a dish was not so successful, they take it out of rotation and try something new.
“When you are trying to keep over 1000 people happy that all come from varying backgrounds, nationalities and cultures, it’s a daily challenge. Our goal is to keep pace with student tastes without forgetting the basics: to provide a welcoming, comfortable counterpoint to the stresses of college life and help students develop a lifelong relationship with healthy, delicious, fresh ‘real food.’”
“If our cashiers, servers, cooks and leaders feel like family, if our dining hall feels like home, if students look forward to relaxing with their friends over a delicious meal cooked especially for them, then we are doing our part to enhance the overall educational experience,” said Tinkham.