The University of Missouri Campus Dining Services received significant recognition at The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) national conference in Minneapolis, MN, July 10-14, 2013.

Mort’s receives the “Emmy award” of University food service concepts

Mort’s, the popular Beetle Bailey–inspired burger joint in the MU Student Center, won grand prize in the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards for a University retail concept on July 13.

The Horton dining awards are the top award for facility, concept and menu design in our industry,” Alan Petersen, manager of Student Center dining, said. The awards showcase the best of University food service concepts across the country.  If we consider the Ivy Awards as the Oscars of foodservice, I would consider the Horton equal to the Emmy’s.”

The Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards has six categories, including a single–concept retail location like Mort’s. Each category is then broken down into small, medium and large universities. Mort’s received a gold medal for a large university and won against the small and medium university gold medalists for the Grand Prize.

“After seeing the other two gold winners we were competing with for Grand Prize, they were all quality submittals, the competition was tight,” Petersen said. “When they announced that we had won the Grand Prize for all schools, I was overwhelmed with pride. The sense of accomplishment from taking a project from an idea and seeing it through to this level just can’t be duplicated.”

CDS staff knew Mort’s had placed first in its category in June, Campus Dining Services Director Julaine Kiehn said, but it was even more exciting to receive the Grand Prize for this category at the NACUFS national conference luncheon!

MU Campus Dining Services

Left the right: Kara Pennington, Jimmy Kraus, Alan Petersen, Jeremy Elmore, Larissa Dalton Stephanoff, Casey Voight, Michael Wuest.

Submittals for a Loyal E. Horton Dining Award must adhere to stringent guidelines and must represent the location visually. “I wanted the submission book to be clean and legible, but also to represent the fun vintage style of Mort’s,” said Casey Voight, graphic and interior designer for CDS. “Several of the elements of the Mort’s space were pulled into the book, including the sandwich wrap paper with the vintage Beetle Bailey comic strip on it.”

Voight also hand–carved the cover to directly represent the restaurant’s carved walls. “I stained and carved the cover in my garage and I’m still finding wood chips around my house.”

Congratulations to the Mort’s team – Petersen, Jimmy Kraus, Kara Pennington and Jeremy Elmore – and the marketing team on this outstanding achievement!

“Exceptional culinary expertise”

CDS Sous Chef Jeremy Elmore was awarded second place and a gold medal in the NACUFS national culinary challenge on July 11, 2013.

Elmore, who had earned his national participation by winning first place at the regional NACUFS conference on March 24, finished within .7 points of the winner.

“Achieving such rewards this year with the two gold medals in the Culinary Challenge means a ton not only to me, but to my family, the University of Missouri Campus Dining and the Midwest region,” Elmore said. “The level of confidence in myself is at an all-time high. I believe it is going to springboard my career into some great opportunities in the upcoming future, whether that is advancement of position, competitions, certifications and mentorship of younger culinarians.”

Jeremy Elmore MU Campus Dining Services

Sous Chef Jeremy Elmore

The culinary challenge was sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation and followed strict regulations on time, equipment, techniques and ingredients. The scoring is based on established criterion with points deducted from a total of 40.

“As a result, multiple contestants may receive the same medal,” said Campus Dining Services Executive Chef Eric Cartwright after the regional competition in March. “Earning a gold medal is extremely challenging and requires near perfect execution. It is not uncommon for no gold medals to be awarded and receiving one is considered a crowning achievement by competitors.”

Three gold, two silver and one bronze medals were awarded to the national competitors. The judges made special mention during the competition review of Jeremy’s excellent butchery skills, stating that others should work to that level.

Cartwright said Elmore maintained a very focused demeanor throughout the competition and had the largest cheering section in attendance.

“Earning a gold medal requires exceptional culinary expertise, and Jeremy consistently demonstrated that during the NACUFS National Culinary Challenge,” Kiehn said. “We are very proud of Jeremy. He definitely earned this recognition!”