Pacific Region President's Message

As we wind down and get ready for summer conference season, it’s a good time to reflect on the successes of the past school year. Here at UC Santa Cruz we are still “Riding the Wave” of our regional conference that took place at the end of March. From the opening golf tournament in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the final dinner on campus at the beautiful Cowell Dining Hall, it was a non-stop three days filled with great takeaways, compelling education, and incredible networking opportunities. Our opening dinner gave attendees a look into the Santa Cruz lifestyle and showcased Brazilian stilt-walkers and fire dancers. Some conference highlights included a tour of the Viridis Aquaponics farm, a successful Showcase at the fairgrounds, our popular late-night event at Boardwalk Bowl, and celebrity Chef Jet Tila showing everyone a “new” way to make fried rice. History was made on the final day of the conference, with a Guinness world record-breaking granola bar measuring at 420 feet. University of Southern California Chef David Teal took home an ACF gold medal in the culinary challenge and will be proudly representing our region at the national Culinary Challenge in Indianapolis this summer.

There are changes coming to the Pacific Regional Council this summer. Ed Glebus of San Diego State University was elected vice president to our council, and Tara Sanders of Oregon State University will be our new Secretary and Strategic Planning Liaison. The council also appointed a new Industry Liaison, Todd Hitch from Ecolab. The town hall was standing room only and it provided an opportunity for members to ask questions of NACUFS leadership and become better informed with the bylaws changes that will be voted on at the General Membership Assembly in Indianapolis.

On June 24-25 Stanford University is hosting a Wellness & Marketing Summit. In August and September we will have a “Traveling Chef” series that will hit three different schools in the region. This series will focus on integrating gluten-free items daily into menus and will give you new ideas to implement on your campus. October 14-16 will be the Mexican Culinary Workshop at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. This is a unique program that highlights the food of the region as well as showcasing their great institution. We will also be continuing our ChefNet series. Stay tuned for more information.

I hope to see all of you at the NACUFS National Conference in Indianapolis in late July. This is a very important conference as we vote on the bylaws and prepare for transition into the new governance model. I encourage everyone to attend the GMA at 4:45 pm on Friday, July 24 to be part of this historic vote. The Pacific Region will be hosting a reception for members immediately following the GMA, and we will have tickets available for purchase to the minor league baseball team, the Indianapolis Indians.

Our new regional president, Kris Klinger from University of Southern California, will begin his term at the conclusion of the conference. I encourage everyone to welcome and support him in his role. It has been a tremendous honor to serve NACUFS as a member of the board of directors and as the president of the Pacific Region. I have learned so much in these last two years and had many memorable experiences. I have met great people in our industry and have deepened friendships with many that I know will last a lifetime. Finally, I want to thank the leadership and my team at UC Santa Cruz for their support over the last two years. I couldn’t have been successful without them. It’s been a pleasure leading the region, and I look forward to what’s to come.

Peter Curry
Pacific Regional President
University of California-Santa Cruz


Chefs Carve Out Culinary Creations at UC Santa Barbara

College chefs are coming up with new culinary creations for students during a three day meeting at UC Santa Barbara.

34 chefs from six UC Campuses and several other colleges attended.

They discussed common kitchen issues, sustainable food options, and efforts to buy local produce.

This afternoon four teams worked on a two hour program to prepare dishes some students said they had never tasted in their lives.   The sampling was done by winners of a social media contest.

UC Santa Cruz Chef Kelly Anderson said she has seen menu items change significantly in the last 20 years, along with the number of students coming from all over the world.  She says however, high quality food is also easier to come by.  "Well you know I throw some quinoa in their pancakes once in awhile when they don't know it,  some hidden protein.  So we do health food for them."  Anderson says ingredients and food items are written out for the students to see as they make their choices on her campus.

University of Nevada-Reno chef Xavier Leveau said he talks to students often about the menu items and the foods they want to see on the campus menus. "I go and talk with them, communication is very important with the young kids."  He also said, some of their favorites will always be on menu along with new selections he creates.  "Let me tell you  if you have chicken tenders you will have the biggest line on campus," said Leveau with a laugh.

There's also a sign that good food for some students is worth a few extra minutes.
"They are willing to sit , wait some time , have a quality lunch,  go to class and do better that me slopping a dry hamburger on a terrible bun with American cheese," said USC chef David Teal. He says there are thousands of students, staff and graduates on and off the campus at all times but says planning makes a difference in how creative they can be instead of rushing the meals.

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Throwback Menu Gives UCSC Students a Glimpse of Campus Meals 50 Years Ago

In 1965, UC Santa Cruz’s newly opened campus unwittingly stood at the precipice of radical cultural change. Women’s skirts were shorter and men’s hair a bit shaggier, but classic A-line dresses, sweater vests, bobs and crew cuts were still the norm. The Beatles had released four albums but had yet to drop acid. The latest craze in kids’ toys was a contraption called “The Skate Board.” And the conflict in Vietnam began to look suspiciously like a war.

American food was also on the verge of a revolution. Students were disenchanted with the traditional “meat and two vegetables” diet that had been the post-war staple of their youth. They wanted something new — something instant and futuristic and foreign. They thirsted for Tang with their Jell-O, Cool Whip and Pop-Tarts.

To honor the university’s 50 years as an institution, UCSC’s dining halls this Thursday will be serving retro dishes that harken back to the days when the campus opened. In addition to Jell-O and Pop Tarts, the menu will feature vintage delicacies such as pigs in a blanket, cocktail meatballs, stuffed bell peppers, waffled grilled-cheese sandwiches, beef burgundy, and French onion dip.

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Tecnologico de Monterrey at Yale University

Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey Campus was invited to join the “2014 Guest Chef Series” program from Yale University, held on September 24th, 2014 at the Commons Dining Hall of the University.

The dinner event was presented by Rafi Taherian, Executive Director of Yale Dining and Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef and Director of Culinary Excellence.  Their guests were, Gabriela Osada, Food Service Director, Jose Perez, Catering Senior Manager and Antonio Morales, Catering Executive Chef.

The event hosted 130 Yale students and began with a welcome message by Ron DeSantis.

Gabriela Osada, presented the menu and explained the selection of the recipes which represented both the Mexican Cuisine and Tecnologico de Monterrey´s most traditional and popular dishes.

One of the recipes prepared during the event by Chef Antonio Morales, were the Tec Chilaquiles, the school´s most popular dish among students, faculty and staff.

He also presented the Mexican Cuisine related to Mexico’s Independence which is celebrated in September.  It consisted of a four-course dinner, beginning with an appetizer of Tortilla Chips and Green, Red, and Ranchera Salsas.  Then, a Mexican Salad with Cajeta Dressing (caramelized milk dressing) and the entrées were Chile en Nogada (Stuffed poblano chile with walnut sauce and pomegranate symbolizing the Mexican flag colors) and Chicken Flautas with Avocado Salsa garnished with Zucchini with Corn and Peppers and Mexican Rice.  The special recipe Tec Chilaquiles were also served.  Last but not least, for dessert, a Sweet Chocolate Tamal and Yale´s popular dessert, Tres Leches Cake were served.  During dinner, Cucumber Lemonade and Hibiscus water were served, both traditional Mexican beverages too. 

At the event, there was an opportunity to share with Yale students and staff two Mexican traditions, one being Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrated in November with very traditional Mexican Cuisine and sugar skull decorations and the other, breaking of a Piñata during Mexico´s Christmas holiday.  To break the Piñata blind folded students tried to break the piñata with a broom stick for the duration of the Piñata song taught to the rest of the guests. 

The collaboration between Yale University and Tecnologico de Monterrey gave the opportunity to engage an amazing evening and wonderful memories. 


Pacific Region President's Message: Fall 2014

Fall is a season that features football, cider, pumpkins, and cooler weather. Fall also brings eager freshman minds hungry for a great dining experiences. New challenges and opportunities on campus allows our staffs to welcome new and returning students, open new venues, and create environments that are pleasant. I hope everyone has had a successful start to the school year!

Congratulations and thank you to the Mid-Atlantic region for a great national conference this summer in Baltimore. The conference brought an array of educational and networking opportunities to all who attended. The Pacific region’s first networking reception on Friday night was a huge success and will likely expand in the future.  It was great to see that our region was well-represented on the east coast.

Educational programs like the NACUFS professional development institutes continue to help individuals from our region grow and gain skills to become a well-rounded, successful foodservice professional. Our region sent 16 people to the five institutes that were featured this summer and will be sending four more to the Marketing Institute in December. I was fortunate enough to attend the Leadership Institute sponsored by Nestle in Solon, Ohio in June.  It was an enriching week of growth and networking that I would strongly recommend to all supervisors, managers, and administrators.

Sub-regional conferences are growing in popularity and offer specific topics of focus for one to three-day meetings. In June, the University of California, Los Angeles hosted 13 registered dietitians and nutritonists for a Wellness Summit that was extremely well-received. Our Mexican Culinary Workshop is coming up October 15-17 at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. Participants will immerse themselves in Mexican culture and cuisine for three days, including a tequila tasting. The Pacific Region also has an upcoming catering workshop at the University of California, San Diego and our Chef Net program will recur in January at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Finally, it’s not too early to mark March 26-28, 2015 on your calendar for the Pacific Regional Conference hosted by University of California, Santa Cruz. Check out the regional conference web page for updates and more information as we get closer to what will be another memorable regional conference. Go Slugs! 

Peter Curry
Pacific Regional President
University of California-Santa Cruz