A Tufts Dining Center Takes Home National Award

Carmichael’s menu makeover lands industry recognition 

What you’ll find Jumbos enjoying at Carmichael Dining Center these days: cauliflower steak, beef brisket, shrimp and grits, and the ramen bar. What you won’t find: anything containing gluten, peanuts, or tree nuts.

The uphill dining center, rebranded as Fresh at Carm, opened for the Fall 2021 semester with 200 new recipes, and an environment that lets students with food allergies have the same mealtime experience as those who don’t.

The changes landed Fresh at Carm the 2022 Gold Loyal E. Horton Residential Dining Facility Award by the National Association of College and University Food Services. The award celebrates innovative ideas in college and university culinary arts.

Patti Klos, director of Tufts dining and business services, said she approached her team with the idea for Fresh at Carm in March 2021 after seeing how nimbly, creatively, and thoughtfully they had implemented change after change during the pandemic. “I just knew this team had the chops to do it,” she said. “They worked tirelessly and collaboratively from mid-May through the summer to make it happen at light speed.”

Fresh at Carm feeds anywhere from 1,000 to 1,700 students daily, and while Tufts Dining said it’s difficult to know the exact number of students on the Medford/Somerville campus with food allergies, it’s estimated that nationally, about 10% of adults have a food allergy of some sort.

“Food is social. It’s so hard not to be able to eat with friends,” says Maddie Yost, A23, a member of the Student Food Allergy Council, which advised Tufts Dining as the new menu was developed. “Carmichael is suddenly the most popular dining center on campus, and I can actually eat there.”

For students dining downhill, the All9Free section of Dewick-MacPhie, launched in 2019, offers a menu that avoids the nine most common allergens.

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