AMHERST - Across the board, students at UMass Amherst give the dining program two thumbs up. But don't just ask them, the proof is in the pudding.
"The quality, the authenticity, and also the passion in service," said Ken Toong, Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises at the University.
For the sixth year in a row, the university ranks number 1 for best campus food in the country, according to the Princeton Review
"It means a lot to our staff. During the school year we serve 50,000 meals a day," said Toong.
50,000 meals a day, influenced heavily by the students eating them.
"One thing that we do a pretty good job is constantly doing surveys to students and using the feedback to make changes," said Toong.
"In every location there are surveys so you can fill out anything from the napkin dispenser was empty to can you sell more plant-based chicken nuggets," said senior student Nicole Alvarez.
Also, part of the winning recipe, the best quality ingredients.
"We are very, very conscious about where we source our food from. We deal a lot with the local farms and ranches. We're very concerned about the carbon footprint and where we get our food from," said Alex Ong, Director of Culinary Excellence.
On campus there are over 30 dining retail locations and 4 dining commons. The newest one, Worcester Commons, is in the style of a food hall with an emphasis on options, from sushi to pizza.
"We modeled it after the night markets of the world. So, we have flavors from Southeast Asia, sushi, we even have a station where everything on there is plant-based and gluten free," said Ong.
"Coming here and seeing all the variety I can get and the fact that there are healthy options because I'm vegetarian," said senior student Harita Sistu.
"You have to cook from the heart. And the food shows. And people say we are cooking like grandma's house. I'll take it. I'll take it to the bank any day," said Ong.
For more on the dining program, visit: https://umassdining.com
for more features.