Robert Landolphi

Dining to Host 23rd Annual Culinary Competition


The Department of Dining Services will hold its annual Culinary Olympics on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. The event will take place at the Rome Commons Ballroom (Rome Building, South Campus) located on the University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus. This annual event shows off the skills of UConn Dining chefs in an individual recipe competition in the morning and then in a team-based “Chopped” style competition in the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public.

The morning event, Recipe Contest judging, is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:00am on Tuesday. Recipes are prepared on-site by UConn Dining chefs for 12 portions and must fall into one of the following categories:  Appetizer, Entrée, or Dessert. Recipes will then be judged on the following criteria: Creativity of Dish/Cooking Techniques/Use of Ingredients/Taste and Texture.

From 10:30am-1:30 pm the UConn Bakery will have displays of their creative work as well as demos on the art of decorating. Stop by and chat with our professional pastry chefs and bakers.

The afternoon event, “Boiling Point,” is scheduled to begin at approximately 12:30pm. This is our version of the “Chopped” competition that will involve teams of three chefs representing the different dining facilities within the department. Each team will be presented with a mystery box of ingredients, and using miscellaneous items from our pantry, prepare three different tapas (small food or appetizer) on each plate. Teams will have 75 minutes to prepare their dishes for three judges. Teams will then be scored on the following criteria: Creativity of dish / Cooking Techniques / Use of Ingredients / Taste and Textures. Teams are not allowed to bring ingredients or use ingredients that are not supplied by the competition. The setup for Boiling Point allows guests to get up close to the teams to watch as they strategize, prep, and get creative with their mystery ingredients.

An award presentation will immediately follow the Boiling Point competition.

Location Address: Rome Building, 855 Bolton Road, Storrs, CT – easiest access to the event and parking is to enter campus via Bolton Rd

Parking Info: Closest public parking to the event is South Garage | Campus Map of Parking & Event Location

Pedestrian Path to the Event: After parking at the garage, proceed down Hillside to Bolton and enter into South campus near the Graduate Hotel

Press/Event Contact: Robert Landolphi, Assistant Director Culinary

More details at:

Dining Services Earns Distinguished National Nutrition Award

The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) announced UConn Dining Services as the recipient of a distinguished NACUFS Nutrition Award. Dining Services received gold in the category of Best Local Foods Recipe. The NACUFS Nutrition Awards recognize the outstanding nutrition and wellness programs implemented within collegiate foodservice programs to meet the needs of a dynamic student population.

The winning recipe, Chicken Sausage, Butternut Squash and Kale Hand Pies with Lemon Ricotta, is served at Whitney Dining Hall. Whitney is one of eight dining halls on the Storrs campus and features local, vegetarian, and vegan items. The farm-to-table initiative offers sustainable and local food items from a variety of local farmers and food producers including UConn’s Spring Valley Student Farm. UConn Dining is the largest consumer of locally grown produce in Connecticut.

“We are proud to have an administration at UConn that supports our involvement in NACUFS, and a team within Dining Services that believes in supporting local farming which strengthens our local community and economy” says Robert Landolphi, Assistant Director of Culinary Development for UConn Dining Services. “Most importantly we have a student body that dines with us daily and are willing to share with us what is important to them as they assist us in expanding our local and regional purchases.”

NACUFS member institutions across North America submitted entries in two categories — Most Innovative Wellness & Nutrition Program and Best Local Foods Recipe.

UConn Dining has received 21 awards from NACUFS in the last 15 years for recipes, dining hall renovations, gluten free options, culinary challenges, catering, and sustainability initiatives.

Want to try the hand pie recipe at home? Find a printable recipe and demo at

The National Association of College & University Food Services was founded in 1958 by a group of college and university foodservice professionals from across the United States. Since its inception, NACUFS has focused on its mission to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining by providing members with the programs and resources they need to excel, from benchmarking and best practices to educational programming and professional networking.

NACUFS institutional members range from private colleges to large public universities, including two-year and four-year institutions, spanning the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and beyond. Industry members include food and equipment manufacturers, distributors, brokers, foodservice support companies, councils, boards, trade associations, advisory commissions and other professional groups. For more information, visit


Plant-based Café, CrossRoads, Opens in Wilbur Cross Building

UConn Dining Services’ highly anticipated plant-based café, CrossRoads, opened for business on Monday, August 30th, feeding students, faculty, and staff.

Located in the heart of campus on the main floor of the Wilbur Cross building, adjacent to the Information Center, CrossRoads offers a unique menu of plant-forward options that will satisfy meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Many items on the menu are also gluten-free. The casual café serves up ready-to-go salads and sandwiches that are made fresh every day on campus, desserts from the UConn Bakery, as well as build-your-own yogurt bowls.

The idea for CrossRoads started in October of 2020 when UConn undergraduate Madelyn Pickett ’23 (ENG) emailed Dining Services with her proposal for the plant-based café. To gauge the interest of the campus community, Dining Services sent out a survey and received thousands of responses in support of the café idea. Although vegan and vegetarian fare is available in all the campus dining facilities, Dining Services saw an opportunity with this cafe to bring additional exposure and availability of the great tasting plant-based products that are on the market to the flexitarians on campus, along with creating an education component on the health and sustainability aspects of a plant-forward diet. With full approval from the University, students then took part in a menu tasting in March of 2021 in the Dining Services Innovation Lab with Robert Landolphi, associate director for culinary development and residential dining.

When it came time to creating the branded look for CrossRoads, Dining Services continued with the idea of keeping elements of the Café centered around student involvement. Pickett turned to her friend and graphic designer Jared Beltz ‘23 (BUS). Beltz, a junior, is a digital media and design major at UConn and developed the logo, branding guide, and color palette for the Café.

The Café space was remodeled this summer with wood elements, plants from the UConn Horticulture Club, and campus photography to create a natural and welcoming feel. High top tables along with a lounge space are available for dining and studying.

In addition to making plant-based options more obtainable within the UConn community, the CrossRoads team strives to educate and spread awareness on the importance of sustainability. Through student leadership, the Crossroads Events Management Committee will coordinate and host events on a range of topics relating to the plant-forward movement. Such areas include sustainable farming, alternative proteins, nutritional topics, etc.

CrossRoads is open to the public; hours Monday through Friday from 7:30am-3pm | Husky Bucks, Credit/Debit, Points and Flex Passes accepted.

CrossRoads Café – website 

For press inquiries, please contact