From the Managing Director's Plate
Date of Press Release:
Since joining Harvard as the Managing Director for Harvard University Dining Services on April 6, I have been taking every opportunity to explore campus and to meet everyone I can with an interest in food – from our wonderful students to our dedicated staff to our thought and community partners throughout every program and school.
Recently, I had the chance to partake in a very special climate-friendly meal, in the company of Mather Faculty Deans Amala and L. (Maha) Mahadevan, crafted with care by HUDS’ hospitality and dining team. What I particularly appreciated was that it was a menu our community might enjoy on any given night. And while the place settings were more typical of a Faculty Dinner or special event, the food showcased the values Team HUDS has long espoused: a plant-forward menu featuring fresh ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible, prepared with simple techniques that support the health of people and the planet.
The menu included an eggplant crostini using a hearty, locally baked bread; a colorful and biodiverse salad featuring local watermelon radish, carrots, mushrooms and early tomatoes, all pickled lightly and placed atop greens; a locally made tomato pasta, tossed with protein-rich garlic edamame and topped with a spinach sauce; and a light but indulgent white chocolate flan with fresh berries and mangos. It was accompanied by a tamarind and mango seltzer that strictly relied on the sweetness of the fruit and the tang of the tamarind to make it refreshing (it’s true - no sugar was added, it was all pure and fresh)!
Just as enjoyable was the team preparing it – Paul, Nelly, Chef Donn and Chef Aquila are as diverse a collection of hospitality professionals, with long and varied careers, as one could hope to find. But the team has one common ground: a deep passion for food and its ability to bring delight and advance inclusion, health, well-being, and sustainability on campus.
Recently I attended the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Round Table, during which some of the best scientific and evidence-based work about healthy and sustainable food systems was being shared by Dr. Frank Hu and Dr. Walter Willet. To me, the menu and meal I just enjoyed translates their scientific work into something delicious and approachable for any community, family or individual.
Maha later noted to the team, “What a magnificent dinner. The thoughtfulness with which you chose the menu, the sensitive sourcing of the produce and pasta, the riot of colors and presentation were a treat for the eyes and the palate. Thank you all so much for making this a delectable evening.“
At Harvard University, together with our colleagues and partners from around campus, we advance an inclusive, healthy, nutritious hospitality and dining program for our students and our community. This is how we bring our strategy and vision to life.