Two of Dining Services' executive chefs will travel to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to showcase Virginia Tech’s award-winning cuisine.
Randall Van Dyke and John Scherer will represent Virginia Tech with recipes selected from the menu rotation of D2 at Dietrick Hall. This is the fourth year Virginia Tech has participated in UMass Amherst’s Princeton Review Best Campus Food Guest Chef Event.
The Best Campus Food Guest Chef Event, held this year on March 5, features chefs from the Princeton Review top 10 universities in the Best Campus Food category. Among numerous other awards, Virginia Tech Dining Services has been ranked in the top three for the past seven years, and achieved number one rankings in both 2010 and 2008. The Princeton Review is a student resource to assist in preparation and decision-making for a college career, including test prep, information on majors, courses of study, and institutional rankings in a variety of categories.
“UMass worked with us to schedule this year’s event to ensure Virginia Tech’s participation. They were that interested in having us back,” said Ted Faulkner, director of Virginia Tech Dining Services.
UMass pays all expenses and uses their staff to produce and serve the guest chefs’ chosen recipes. The event includes a chef interview and discussion of the menu items presented. Dining program directors are invited to accompany the chefs and give a brief presentation on their respective dining programs. Associate Director Bill Hess will serve that role for Virginia Tech. Guest chefs also assist staff, interact with students, and network with peers from other top-rated institutions while showcasing award-winning cuisine.
“Our menu will be made up of dishes that we currently serve in our Pan Asia venue at D2,” said Chef VanDyke. “They range from Indian to Thai to Korean and reflect our diverse student culture and their eclectic tastes.”
Van Dyke serves as executive chef over D2 and DXpress at Dietrick Hall, and Vet Med Café at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University. His experience includes head chef at several resort hotels. Van Dyke also serves as president of the New River Valley chapter of the American Culinary Federation.
Scherer serves as executive chef for Owens Food Court at Owens Hall. A graduate of Baltimore International Culinary College, he began his career teaching for the department of Housing and Tourism Management, and later served as sous chef at Virginia Tech’s former Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. Scherer previously worked at Radford University in several chef roles.
Previous chefs participating in the UMass Amherst guest chef program are Scherer, Executive Chef Senior Mark Moritz of Turner Place at Lavery Hall, and Executive Chef Mark Bratton of West End Market at Cochrane Hall.
Dining Services employs executive chefs to develop menus for each of its dining centers. Chefs have opportunities to expand their creativity with special events, and share their knowledge throughout the school year through the Chef Series hands-on demonstrations.
For more information about Virginia Tech Dining Services’ dining centers and special events, visit Dining Services online.
Written by Nancy Bagato
- Photos: Gingerbread houses