The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    De Anza cafeteria wins top national award

    For the first time in De Anza College history, its food services program received collegiate recognition in the nationwide 2008 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards Ceremony.

    Every year, the National Association of College and University Food Services holds a nationwide college and university dining competition, dishing out gold awards as a salute to the most successful services. According to the NACUFS, this award is the highest recognition obtainable by college and university culinary arts.

    De Anza won the gold award in the category of retail sales in the medium-sized campus classification. Stanford University took the gold for large-sized campuses. The schools will go head-to-head for the national grand prize, which will be awarded July 12.

    Patrick Gannon, the director of dining services at De Anza, submitted the college’s entry last April and was notified of the award a few weeks later.

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    This also marks the first time De Anza has qualified in the competition at all. Qualification is an achievement in itself, as judging criteria is extremely intricate and demanding, Gannon said.

    The criteria used to determine the winners of the award are menu selection, food merchandising and presentation, marketing, and a blanket assessment of the entire operation, which includes food cost objectives, food selections, menu development and retail trends.

    “For De Anza to place first in this category they would have to rank very high in all categories,” said Greg Minner, NACUFS chair for the 2008 awards. “It is very competitive.”

    Gannon attributes De Anza’s award to the remodeling and re-invention of its dining services, which was completed last September.

    The new cafeteria layout was custom designed by Gannon and his team and includes genre specific serving stations offering a variety of food. The college’s improved menu is another factor that makes De Anza stand out, said Gannon. “[In the past year,] the quality of food has been improved.”

    Patrick Gannon has worked as an excecutive chef for Stanford University’s food services department and as the associate director of dining services at Caltech. He also served as the director of dining services at Harvard Business School before he was hired as the director of dining services at De Anza.

    Gannon and his team conducted research to upgrade the menu at De Anza. They visited local restaurants to see what types of food were being offered elsewhere and brought what they saw as the better attributes back to De Anza’s menu.

    Much hard work was sweated out to bring De Anza up to par with other qualifying schools for the Horton Award, said Gannon. “The effort was worth it,” he said.

    Stacy Lane is a staff reporter for La Voz. Contact her at [email protected].

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