Commitment to Excellence

Top 10 Ways Yale Hospitality Shows Its Commitment to Excellence

1. We Source Sustainable Foods

Yale Hospitality sources items based on strict guidelines. Eggs are “cage-free.” Seafood is MSC certified. Beef is grass-fed and humanely raised. Coffee is fair-trade. Milk is local and hormone-free. Bakeries in our community deliver local, fresh, preservative-free breads to the Yale campus daily and our menus feature local and seasonal produce whenever possible. Fresh produce is a core focus because market-fresh vegetables and salads are prominent at both lunch and dinner every day. In the summer, we host a farmer’s market each Friday that makes local produce available to the entire Yale community at the cost we have by buying in large quantities. Altogether, some 39% of our total food purchases meet one or more sustainable criteria.

Yale’s commitment to sustainability is more than just a fancy marketing phrase—it’s a commitment and a cultural value. We believe Yale Campus Dining can lead the New Haven and college community by spreading awareness of why a commitment to sustainability matters and how it can be put into practice. It’s a key way “We Show our Commitment to Excellence.”

2. We Make It Fresh!

Every day, Yale Hospitality prepares foods for our students from the freshest ingredients available. Processed foods have no place here. In many of our locations, food offerings are freshly prepared in front of guests. Our cookies, muffins and desserts are produced from scratch every day in the Yale Bakery.

From the fresh home-made, brick oven pizza at Morse College to the daily-baked granola and muffins of Yale’s Bakery, we aspire to bring fresh food to our students at every meal. It is commonplace to find a group of students watching a Yale chef prepare food in in real time at our locations. Again, it’s how “We show our Commitment to Excellence.”

3. Yale Hospitality is a Leader in Health and Wellness Initiatives

Yale is a participant in both the National Salt Reduction Initiative and the Healthy Meal Collaborative (a national movement committed to increasing the consumption of plant-based foods). We care about our customers, their health, and about keeping them informed about the ingredients we use and the food they eat.

In Yale’s dining programs, we are all about “clean labels.” We strive to produce foods with the fewest possible and only natural ingredients. We make extensive use of whole grains, all-natural chicken, fresh local produce. Offering fruit-infused spa water at all of our dining halls has reduced consumption of soft drinks among our students by 22%! And Yale Hospitality has become known for its successful efforts to replace animal protein with plant-based protein (mushrooms, beans, etc.) while not compromising the flavor of our food. Our “More This, Less That” campaign was the nation’s first campus initiatives to focus on this healthier and flavorful menu approach.

Yale University takes pride in our many initiatives to make campus dining more healthful, more sustainable and more enjoyable. On the Yale Campus, where Health and Wellness is an imperative focus of our day-to-day dining programs and operations, we “Show our Commitment to Excellence” with every meal we serve.

4. We Care for the Environment

Yale’s Dining Halls are trayless by choice, a proven way to reduce water and food waste. We compost all of the food waste we do generate and use only compostable service ware and napkins. In fact, everything in our service areas is either compostable or recyclable. We even recycle our cooking oil. We work with our farmers and our produce vendors to support local and regional producers. Food safety is priority one and all of the farmers with which we partner must meet rigorous standards before they can supply our produce vendors.

Respecting and taking care of our environment is an integral part of the Yale Hospitality philosophy and we follow a sustainable philosophy of Reduce—Reuse—Recycle in all of our operations. We source large amounts of food locally and are highly involved in regional and national efforts to encourage sustainability throughout the industry. It’s one more way we ”Show our Commitment to Excellence.”

5. We Have Great Chefs!

Yale Hospitality’s Certified Master Chef, Ron DeSantis, leads culinary training sessions on campus to enrich the culinary knowledge and skill sets of all of our foodservice staff. Many of our chefs have been classically trained at institutions like the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales. We regularly bring world-renowned chefs—culinary experts like Joyce Goldstein, Mai Pham, Suvir Saran, and Brian Voltaggio—to our campus to share their knowledge and experience with our culinary team. This past year, we had the honor of hosting acclaimed author and celebrity Chef Tal Ronnen, who is elevating vegan cuisine to new levels. We have developed a continuing relationship with the Culinary Institute of America to help us develop world-class culinary talent at the university.

Quality dishes are of the utmost importance here at Yale. We strive hard to keep our culinary staff on top of the latest trends by hosting periodic culinary training sessions led by Head Chef Ron DeSantis, one of fewer than 70 Certified Master Chefs in the country. Yale also looks to provide continuing education for our culinary staff in other ways. This commitment to continuous improvement and ensuring that our culinary team is always on top of the latest food trends and authentic cooking techniques pays dividends at every campus meal and special event. It helps us continue raising the quality of our cuisine to new levels and is another demonstration of our “Commitment to Excellence.”

6. We Cater to Guests with Food Allergies or Special Dietary Needs

Yale’s Hospitality is committed to the health and wellness of our campus community and that of the many family members and guests who visit each year. We look to help students and visitors make informed food choices and to accommodate any special dietary needs they may have. Our dining room and café offerings are displayed with printed signage that lists the ingredients used. Advisory icons indicate when food choices contain any of the top eight food allergens. Lifestyle and cultural preferences, such as vegan and vegetarian selections, are also readily available and prominently identified.

The same information can be viewed on the Yale Hospitality website and via our Yale Dining App, which lets students quickly view daily menu selections across campus and filter choices based on their individual preferences and dietary restrictions. When needed, our managers and cooks work one-on-one to help students with special dietary needs, and will even prepare special items to ensure that they receive the proper attention and nutrition. When it comes to service, “We Show our Commitment to Excellence.”

7. Yale Hospitality Brings Students to Farms and Farmers to the Students

We are proud to share what we know about sustainable sourcing and encourage the first-hand education that can only come from visiting local food producers. We take students, traveling via biodiesel busses, to local farms to see where our food originates and how it’s grown, speaking to the farmers directly. They enjoy picking their own berries, apples, tomatoes, or squash in the fields and sampling fresh milk, cider, and ice cream from local dairy farms during these field trips. We also invite local producers to our dining halls in periodic “Shake the Hand that Feeds You” events. Students want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced, and we strive to encourage those understandings as a key part of our “Commitment to Excellence.”

8. We Serve Great Meatless Meals Every Day

Whether your lifestyle is vegetarian/vegan or you just want healthier fare, Yale Hospitality has delicious options available for you at each meal period, every day. We use brand-name items and feature some of the same recipes currently on menus at trendy restaurants in LA, Vegas, and NYC. Our responsible sourcing and conscious and cohesive approach towards healthful dining goes hand-in-hand with lifestyles geared to life-long health and wellness.

Teaming up with top culinary talent to continually increase the number of plant-based protein dishes we offer is helping us to support student wellness while creating memorable dining experiences with exceptional flavor. Yale Hospitality’s “Commitment to Excellence” is at the fore when it comes to demonstrating that healthful lifestyle choices require no compromise in flavor or food variety.

9. We Make Food Fun!

Special culinary events and themed dinners abound at Yale. Food is our vehicle to celebrate life and culture – whether it is the fabulous Parade of Comestibles at the Freshman Holiday Dinner, celebrating Lunar New Year with a James Beard nominee, hosting Diwali for Yale’s East Asian students or providing a feast for EID for our Muslim community. In these and many other examples Yale Dining is at the center of it all.

And then, of course, there is The Final Cut—an iron-chef culinary competition in which students from all 12 colleges compete to show off their culinary talents and vie for top honors. Thousands of Yale undergrads come to watch this event each year while they also get to sample great food and beverages from our finest vendors.

Our overall goal at Yale Hospitality is every campus meal an event that students look forward to and which will contribute to the strength and value of their campus experience. Our events help make the Yale college experience a unique one, support the formation of a life-long Yale community and help celebrate the cultural identity and individuality of our students, faculty and guests. When students look back at their years on the campus, the goal is to make our “Commitment to Excellence” self-evident and an effort to be remembered.

10. We Really Listen to Students

We love to hear from our students and other guests! Whether by email, open forums, surveys, our mobile app or one-on-one conversations with our staff, their input is welcome and essential to our efforts to improve the Yale Hospitality experience. Our dining advisory committee is not just a public relations effort, but a tool we rely upon to identify and satisfy our student customer wants and needs.  We count on the daily interaction of our students and faculty with dining hall managers and cooks to let us know what we are doing well and suggest areas where they think we can improve. Engaging with our customers to constantly improve our food and services is a key way Yale Hospitality “Shows our Commitment to Excellence.