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Publisher's Letter Fall 2014

By Michele Nichols


Just last night, I was having dinner with a friend of mine who eats only gluten-free meals. When the waiter came over to take her order, it took her nearly 10 minutes to get it all on paper, listing how she wanted her salmon cooked and the ingredients she needed removed from her salad. The waiter answered her questions with ease and even brought over gluten-free bread fresh from the oven. I was impressed with all the ways the restaurant was trying to accommodate her, but I shouldn’t have been. This is the new normal.

In today’s Foodie Nation, not only are consumers choosier than ever when it comes to dining out, but the meetings and event industry has also had to quickly sharpen their kitchen tools as well to cater to ever-changing dietary needs and wants.

Colleges and universities are no different—in fact, they have been adhering to these demands for far longer. Just take one look at the demographics on a campus and you’ll see students from every state, country, religious affiliation and cultural background, all with specific dietary accommodations that need to be met on a daily basis. These are dining services’ customers for eight months every year, and campus food service (much like academics, sports, clubs, area attractions, etc.) help attract and keep students. The fact that campuses deal with this effortlessly year-round makes them all the more prepared to host a group on campus that has unique catering requirements.

Requirements like bringing in a Rabbi for kosher meals, finding specific ingredients from the local Asian market or even copying family recipes. Don’t even bother asking a hotel to do that—you and I both know the answer. Flexibility is the plate du jour of colleges and universities, and it’s just one more reason why groups should consider meeting here. Because they don’t sweat it, even when there are many cooks in the kitchen.

Michele Nichols, Founder
Unique Venues