Serving more than 20,000 meals a day to hungry 18- and 19-year-olds is no small task. But serving 20,000 meals that are customized to meet specific dietary needs and preferences is what makes the University of Michigan Dining truly the leaders and the best.
“We keep leading, we keep pushing the buttons, and we keep asking questions,” said Campus Executive Chef Frank Turchan.
Although chicken tenders and mac n’ cheese are still regular features at the seven Michigan dining halls, the traditional cafeteria spaces have transformed to serve a growing demand for healthier, flexible and allergen-sensitive meals.
The South Quad dining hall includes 10 mini restaurants that serve up a wide variety of cuisines, including Kosher, Halal and a separate gluten-free facility that students can access with their pre-approved dining card.
Chef Frank said that each new school year families trust them with their children and expect them to provide healthy and safe dining selections. That’s why allergen and dietary information is clearly listed at all food stations and daily recipes are available on the Michigan dining mobile app.
Students drive everything Chef Frank and his staff does. That includes menu inspirations from students that come to Ann Arbor from across the world.
“It’s nearly daily where students come up to me and say: ‘Hey, I saw this [picture] on Instagram. Do you guys make this or could you do this?’”
With thousands of new freshmen arriving each fall, the University of Michigan Dining team is constantly working to improve service to students, particularly as trends, tastes, and needs evolve. But it’s this reason why Chef Frank and his team say every day is different and exciting.
“We grow the program based on what the students are and based on what’s next.”