University Dining Services (UDS) at Oklahoma State University has been recognized by the National Association of College and University Food Services as the bronze level winner in the Online Catering Menu category of the national Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards. In addition, OSU was the recipient of the NACUFS Presidents Award for the Southern region for exemplary efforts in serving as host of this year’s regional conference.


The Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards, part of the annual NACUFS awards ceremony, include a category called Best Online Catering Menu, which asks entrants to submit their Online Catering Menu for review and be judged on a very strict set of guidelines and qualifications. The winner was selected based on a two-part evaluation, including “wow factor” in the presentation, photography, consideration for special dietary needs, as well as a 300-word essay detailing the business strategy behind the construction of the menu. One of the most prestigious competitions in collegiate foodservice, the Horton awards recognize exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and dining concepts, as well as provide an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations.


“This award is a source of great pride for our staff and OSU as a whole. It recognizes our dedication to creating the best possible experience for our guests from the initial contact through the successful execution of their event. We take great pride in creating special moments every step of the way,” said Kaarthik Iyer, assistant director of UDS and Celebrations Catering.


As host of the 2014 NACUFS Southern Regional, UDS coordinated a massive three-day conference, which included three separate, completely themed and unique dinners, for more than 200 collegiate dining professionals from around the region.


In addition, a “Culinary Challenge” pitting six of the region’s best chefs against one another in a secret-ingredient battle, a national vendor showcase, keynote speakers, and informative interest sessions were all themed with the conference’s tagline, “Movin’ in the Right Direction.”


“The conference was truly a testament to the staff, facilities, and mission of OSU and University Dining Services,” said Terry Baker, UDS director. “Every department and each person from catering to facilities, marketing to transportation and more; pitched in and made this conference a special event for all of our guests from across the Southern region.”