The New ‘Dorm Food’
Back when I was in college, dormitory food was merely a means to fuel voracious academics, providing little in the way of taste and variety. Seafood offerings were limited to fried fish sandwiches and the ever-mysterious tuna surprise.
Today, campus dining is not only a culinary experience it is also a learning experience. At colleges and universities nationwide, students are refining their palates and learning about nutrition, the origin of food and sustainability in both dining halls and classrooms, regardless of their major.
“There’s a lot more awareness of diet than when I was a student,” says Don Miller, executive chef of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. “More students are looking at healthy food choices, understanding that that will lead to a more active lifestyle.”
Miller is responsible for maintaining the university’s culinary integrity, ensuring more than 17,000 staff, faculty and students are aptly fed at the school’s two 900-seat dining halls, hotel and conference center and four auxiliary houses, where about 200 priests reside. He says students are giving more thought not only to their health but also to the environment.
Last month, Notre Dame became the first major U.S. college or university to earn chain-of-custody certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, allowing it to market that it serves seafood from fisheries certified as well managed and sustainable under the MSC program. The university just received its first two shipments of MSC-certified product — 2,000 pounds each of Alaska salmon and pollock.
If more colleges or universities follow in Notre Dame’s footsteps, more students will graduate with an appetite for sustainable seafood, and as they enter the workforce they’ll look for seafood produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. So be prepared — the sustainable seafood movement is here to stay.
Check out my One on One column with Miller in the January issue of SeaFood Business.