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July 9, 2018

Culinary Services earns national recognition

Michigan State University Culinary Services has been awarded silver in the retail sales marketplace category and bronze in the residential dining special event category from the National Association of College and University Food Services.

The recognitions honor Sparty’s Market and the Beauty and the Beast Dinner held at Hubbard Hall in October 2017.

Named for a NACUFS founder, past president and highly regarded visionary, the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards celebrate exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning and new dining concepts.

Awards will be presented at the upcoming NACUFS National Conference, which will be held Wednesday-Saturday in Providence, Rhode Island.

Sparty’s Market is an urban market-style grocery store located at 1855 Place, which opened in August 2017. The new retail space on MSU’s campus features customizable prepared foods and grill items, meal solutions, fresh produce, household items, health and beauty needs, and more.

“The market has been a very welcomed location on campus,” said Michelle Pell, retail branded concepts manager. “The pride that team members have in representing the space is felt and shown in the quality of all aspects of the operation.”

Shoppers can support Michigan-based companies in a unique “Made in the Mitten” section, and vendors are periodically on site to host sampling events.

“Consulting with partners, including nearly 100 individuals within the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services, was key in the planning stages leading up to a successful store opening,” Pell said. “From streamlining menus to fine-tuning categories in the grocery area, we only continue to improve.”

With their dining plan, students and staff members also gain access to special events that enhance their Spartan experience and encourage engagement. Organized by the East Neighborhood team, the Beauty and the Beast Dinner transformed the Hubbard Dining Hall event space into scenes from the Disney classic.

Decorations were made from cardboard, recycled paper and aluminum foil, among other sustainable materials. In addition to utilizing environmentally-friendly décor, the team created a menu full of local products arranged in four areas: Gaston’s Pub, The Castle, The Town/The Village and Be Our Guest.

The partnership between the culinary team and MSU Food Science and Human Nutrition classes gave students pride and ownership in the event as well.

“The time spent with students leading up to the dinner was invaluable,” said Jessica Douglas, culinary platform attendant for The Edge at Akers. “Getting to know them on a deeper level, including future plans and what areas of culinary appealed to them, allowed me to personalize the experience.”

Culinary Services, one of the largest self-operated university foodservice systems in the country, is a department within the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services at MSU.

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By: Leah Ball