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TCU Wins Three NACUFS Awards for Health and Wellness & Catering

Texas Christian University Dining is taking home the gold for the 2024 Most Innovative Wellness and Nutrition Program as well as the Outstanding Outreach and Education Program of the Year by the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) for their Allergy-Friendly Bake-Off and Chef Crafted with Care cooking class program, respectively. TCU Catering was also awarded silver for Catering Special Event of the Year for the TCU 150th Celebration Reception! These are TCU Dining’s second, third, and fourth national recognitions following the NACUFS-winning Magnolias Zero 7 allergen-free dining concept in 2022.



The Newest Chapter in a Multi-Decade Partnership with TCU Nutritional Sciences

As part of The Healthy Frog program, a holistic health and wellness program created by the students, for the students, the TCU Dining team hosted a campus-wide allergy-friendly bake-off event last fall where 30 TCU nutrition students competed to create the best dessert free from nine of the top allergens to be featured at the NACUFS-awarded Magnolias Zero 7. While the bake-off was a new event, TCU Dining’s collaboration with TCU’s Department of Nutritional Sciences has been providing students with hands-on experience in mass food production, health and wellness education, and marketing for almost 20 years.

This event was no ordinary bake-off, in addition to featuring exclusively allergy-friendly desserts, the event showcased the dynamic collaboration between TCU students and the TCU Dining team. As students competed to have their dessert featured at Magnolias Zero 7, they stepped into the roles of dining managers, integrating feedback from their peers and shaping the future of dining on campus. TCU Dining’s commitment to fostering professional development among students is paramount and one of the trademark qualities of the program is that it is mutually beneficial. 

A Legacy of Investing in Students’ Futures

Considered one of the greatest success stories, two of the participants of this long-standing program, Kendall Peddie Kampfer and Alison Kiefer, created The Healthy Frog health and wellness program while students at TCU, a program that continues to thrive today. One of the greatest impacts of the bake-off competition, and the longstanding collaboration with the TCU nutrition department as a whole, is the legacy of investing in students’ futures. TCU Dining’s Campus Dietitian, Maddie Jacobs, MS, RD, LD, also started the internship that eventually led to her role as Campus Dietitian following her involvement with this partnership.

The TCU Dining team has always valued student feedback and involvement above all else, and the bake-off event was the newest chapter embodying the student-led spirit characteristic of the NACUFS-awarded Magnolias Zero 7 concept and the long-standing TCU Nutrition Department partnership.

History of the Program

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Allergy-Friendly Bake-Off Event

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Legacy of Investing in Students' Futures

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Building Skills to Lead Healthy Lifestyles – TCU Dining’s Chef Crafted with Care Program

TCU Dining also took home the gold for the 2024 Loyal E. Horton Oustanding Outreach and Education Program award for its Chef Crafted with Care group cooking class in partnership with TCU’s Chancellor’s Scholars program. 

Also part of The Healthy Frog program, the Chef Crafted with Care cooking class was jointly coordinated by the TCU Dining and TCU Catering teams and hosted by Campus Dietitian Maddie Jacobs, Executive Culinary Director Michael Smith, and Executive Chef of Resident Dining Connor Green. The class provided participants with culinary skills and nutrition education that built confidence in the kitchen and empowered them to make healthy decisions as they enter into a stage of newfound independence as college students. 

Learning Outside of the Classroom – The Ripple Effect of Education

TCU Dining’s dedication to promoting skill development and holistic wellness among TCU students was evident in every aspect of the class, including educational cookbooks, ingredient nutrition facts, and hands-on cooking demonstrations. TCU Chancellor’s Scholars are leaders on TCU’s campus, and partnering with this group provided a unique opportunity to capitalize on the ripple effect of education. By providing the knowledge and resources the participants needed to successfully create nutritious meals for themselves, the event empowered these students to share their newfound skills with their peers, both formally and informally.

In a culminating challenge to apply all their newfound knowledge and skills, at the end of the class, the students also had the opportunity to create their own customized gelato which was featured at the new student-led dining concept Al Moro!

A Program By the Students, For the Students

Additionally, after the students had prepared the recipes, they wrote down their own “chef tips” to be included in the published version of the cookbook. This allowed them to share what they had learned in writing with their peers and increased the educational reach of the class. Along with the opportunity to have their own recipe featured at a dining location, this event allowed the students to step into the roles of TCU Dining leadership and help to build a dining program representative of their fellow Horned Frogs. By giving students the opportunity to be actively involved in the dining program and contribute their ideas, TCU Dining creates a program unequivocally by the students, for the students. 

TCU Celebrates 150 Years

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A Historic Milestone – TCU Catering Celebrates TCU’s 150th Anniversary

In addition to their collaboration with TCU Dining for the Chef Crafted with Care Cooking Class, TCU Catering is also celebrating a huge victory by taking home a NACUFS Catering Special Event of the Year Award for TCU’s sesquicentennial anniversary celebration. 

An Immersive Culinary Journey

This event took attendees on an immersive culinary journey, opening in the lobby of the Schollmaier basketball arena and ending at Amon G. Carter Stadium’s premium Champions Club. The scale of this event was immense with over 30 offerings for roughly 1100 guests, requiring seamless coordination by the TCU Catering team to transform the grand space of the Champions Club at the TCU Stadium, while simultaneously handling a college football gameday schedule the following day.

The attendees visited action stations and carving stations, each offering a distinct experience, becoming a platform for the chefs’ creative expression. In recognition of this historic university milestone, TCU even partnered with TCU Baseball Coach Kirk Saarloos to create two hand-crafted 150th-anniversary wines. Inspired by this unique partnership, TCU Catering created custom-made cocktails including a Frog Rita and a TCU Blackberry Ranch Water which gained popularity at this event and led to these specialty drinks being included in more events at TCU.

Specialty desserts also took center stage at this event, including Martini Berry Cups with Cookie Crisp, Mini Pots de Creme, and Chocolate Torte with Sugared Berries. 

An Exceptional Event for an Exceptional University

Positive feedback from TCU partners is a reminder of the impact the TCU Catering team had on the success of the event and highlights the dedication Catering Director Beth Turzer, Executive Chef Rashelle Solano, and Executive Culinary Director Michael Smith had to meeting TCU’s vision for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration. 

The entire TCU Catering team was proud to be a part of the 150th celebrations and are dedicated to creating experiences that align with the exceptionalism characteristic of TCU, making the sesquicentennial celebrations the most memorable events guests will surely be talking about for the next 150 years.