ASC Dinners Take Home Two National Prizes

CORTLAND, NY (05/14/2012)(readMedia)-- Add two more medals to the trophy wall of Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC), SUNY Cortland's campus-based, not-for-profit dining service provider.

Two special dinners that were served during the 2011-12 academic year - "Celebrate the Seasons" and "¡Sazón Latina!" - won high praise in the 2012 National Association of College and University Food Services (NACFUS) Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards Contest. The quality and creativity of the food presentation won ASC a gold medal for the Feb. 21 "¡Sazón Latina!" event and a silver medal for the Oct. 25 "Celebrate the Seasons" event, both of which took place in Neubig Hall.

"I'm just so happy for the Neubig management team, which keeps putting on these high-caliber events year after year," said William McNamara, the director of ASC Dining Services. "This year, the team did a great job with the planning of the events and with keeping a lot of different campus groups involved."

Since 2006, the College has won eight Loyal E. Horton awards, including three gold medals for residential dining events.

SUNY Cortland is still in competition with Brigham Young University-Hawaii, the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Vanderbilt University for the national gold medal and with Hendrix College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the overall silver medal. Both of those awards will be announced in July.

The day after last year's gold medal-winning "A Taste of Africa Dinner" McNamara received an email from a member of the Phi Iota Alpha fraternity, the Latino-oriented Greek organization on campus, inquiring about the possibility of a Latin American dinner. The "¡Sazón Latina!" event took off from there, he said.

A menu was put together that incorporated four distinct regions. Among the many food offerings, platano maduros, or fried plantains, represented the Caribbean; pernil al horno, a flavorful pork dish, highlighted South America; papa rellena, a stuffed potato, packed Central American flavor; and a vegetarian lasagna dish was served with Mexico in mind.

In addition to the tasty food, the spring semester event included an educational component. In the Neubig hallway, for example, dinner attendees learned about Latin American study abroad opportunities that are available through SUNY Cortland.

"Between the campus outreach and the work of a campus fraternity, this definitely was a cultural experience," McNamara said.

The silver medal-winning "Celebrate the Seasons" event during the fall highlighted different foods that are synonymous with the four seasons, with each season receiving its own dining station in Neubig Hall.

Stuffed flank steak served as a heartier option to represent winter. Blackened steelhead trout offered a taste of spring. Steamed clams with drawn butter, the biggest menu hit of the event according to McNamara, made it feel like summer in October. And oven-roasted sweet potato wedges highlighted the fall.

"This was just a real nice event with a lot of different menu options and we had a fun time with it," McNamara said.

ASC submitted digital scrapbooks for the NACUF competition. Judging was based on several criteria, including menu selection, theme development, marketing of the event and overall impression.

Founded more than 50 years ago, ASC also provides vending, campus stores, student ID cards and other essential services to the campus community.

The NACUFS has more than 1,000 institutional and industry members. Based in Okemos, Mich., the national association is dedicated to promoting the highest quality of food service on college and university campuses.