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Miami brings home the gold plate in dining awards


“Poppy Field” cupcakes contributed to the overall theme of the “The Wizard of Ox” special event by Carillon Catering, which received a grand prize from the 2009 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards.
Miami University won two gold awards and one honorable mention in the large school category of the 2009 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards sponsored by the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). The two gold awards each won the grand prize for their respective categories. Miami has been honored by the association each year since 2004 and holds the record for most awards received by any institution in North America.

Miami’s housing, dining and guest services received a grand prize and a gold award in the category of Retail Sales/Multiple Concepts/Outlets for the Haines Food Court. The Haines operation in the Shriver Center received top honors for its high quality service, creative mix of menu items and presentation.

“The Haines Food Court entry showcased the staff’s interest in combining the ability to provide new and innovative products to the Miami students with exciting promotional specials,” Chris Pirigyi, general manager, said. “We particularly enjoy collaborating with student organizations when planning the monotony breakers. For instance, working with Campus Activities Council on the Kidsfest weekend events, we made sure we were serving plenty of foods popular to the little sibs that would be on campus. I know the judges were looking for things that were very trendy also. The renovation of Tuffy’s last year made it possible to serve interesting new items like fresh fruit smoothies, iced coffee, Fair Trade coffee and a regional favorite, Young’s Dairy ice cream with mix-ins.”

Miami’s Carillon Catering received a grand prize and a gold award for its special event, “The Wizard of Ox” a celebration dinner marking the 40th anniversary of the Miami University Hamilton campus. The “M-erald City” was displayed in the food and decorations creating an all-over themed atmosphere for guests who attended the black tie event.

“I think this particular entry stood out to the judges for several unique qualities,” Marijo Nootz, senior director of Shriver Center, said. “It is rare that such a fun and festive event is coordinated so closely with a true educational purpose. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Hamilton campus, which is traditionally the ‘ruby’ anniversary, drew the committee to the idea of the ruby red slippers in the famous movie, 'The Wizard of Oz.' Besides celebrating the anniversary, the purpose of the event was to raise money for need-based scholarships for those attending Miami Hamilton. It was incredible the way the catering staff was able to hold true to the theme in areas of decoration with baskets of apples in the scary forest, cornstalks and scarecrows and even a yellow brick road. They were also over-the-top creative in the menu planning where guests were served savory duck and pear brie lollipops in 'Lollipop Land,' brown sugar and bacon wrapped apples in the “Apple Tree and Scary Forest” and ended the meal with 'Poppy Field' cupcakes.”

Awards for 2009 were announced at the NACUFS conference held in Milwaukee, Wis., in July. Since 2004 Miami’s Housing, Dining and Guest Services has received seven grand prizes, 12 gold awards, five silvers, four bronze, one third place and four honorable mentions. In the retail convenience store category one Best in the Business award has been received. Two first-place awards have also been received in the vegan recipe contest as well as a third-place award for a local foods recipe contest.

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A raspberry ice cream treat served up at Tuffy’s is one of the many trendy and original ideas that garnered The Haines Food Court a grand prize from the 2009 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards.


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