Inside Rensselaer
Sodexo Hosts Annual Food Festival

On any college or university campus, breaking bread over a meal often plays an important role in fostering a sense of strong community. To provide new and current students and other members of the campus community with a sampling of Sodexo Hospitality Services’ offerings, Sodexo hosted its annual food festival event in March.

Photos by Daria Robbins

The event — held in the Russell Sage Dining Hall — showcased a bountiful array of food choices ranging from chicken and barbeque ribs and pork sliders, to macaroni and cheese, sushi, sub sandwiches, assorted fruit, and a series of Oreo-themed desserts.

The event also featured three food competitions. Several Rensselaer students were vying for the coveted first-place position in contests to eat a giant 5-pound burger, an oversized spicy 8-pound burrito, and an oversized Oreo cookie with a glass of milk — all of which participating competitors had 30 minutes to devour.

“This is an annual event that we host to really showcase dining services to students on meal plans,” said Tim MacTurk, resident district manager for Sodexo. “The event was also held at the time when we are in the middle of our meal plan sales process for next year, so we also answer questions for students and try to show them the value in having a meal plan. Hospitality Services holds a strong commitment to nutrition awareness and education and is truly a student-driven department.”

At Rensselaer, campus dining features a plethora of delectable meal options that includes ethnic cuisines, made-to-order restaurant-style meals, themed meals, guest chef nights, and various specialty desserts that often use local and organic ingredients to soothe the palates of hungry patrons.

Overall, the main food favorites served included more than 250 whole chickens and 1,075 barbeque ribs, along with 150 pounds of macaroni and cheese. Featured on-campus service vendors such as Maxx Deli prepared more than 600 barbeque pork sliders, while Yuri Sushi passed out 750 California and vegetable sushi rolls.

Additional on-campus vendors included: the Commons bakeshop, Jazzman’s, Sub Connection, Thunder Mountain Curry, and a preview of “Spice,” a new resident promotion that is being described as “the ultimate culinary tribute to fire and ice.” The Spice promotion seeks to entertain customers with “intriguing menu selections that take flavor and temperature profiles to the extreme.”

Other featured vendors in the Capital Region and upstate New York included Byrne Dairy, Pepsi, Golden Crust Bakery, Gillete Creamery, and Decresente Distributing.

More than 1,200 students attended the event. In addition to the various food offerings, students had an opportunity to win raffle prizes that included a family-sized tent, flat-screen television, and a kayak. In addition, students who participated in the competitive eating contents also earned prizes, with the winner receiving $100 Visa gift card, while all other contestants received a $25 gift card from Hospitality Services.

“We strive for perfection with every meal, event, and service,” said Jeff Kurto, operations manager for Sodexo, who coordinated the event. “We are always analyzing our methods to keep our services fresh and exciting. It is our mission to provide through our services this feeling of comfort, and to exceed all expectations of hospitality services for faculty, staff, students, guests, and visitors.”

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 7, April 15, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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