A chef prepares vegetables in the D-Hall kitchen

Top chefs: UR Dining Services wins two gold awards

July 24, 2023

University News

Food fuels student life and learning, and the University’s menus, planning, and dining concepts recently received national gold awards.

Visitors to Heilman Dining Center can choose everything from salmon and vegan dishes to home-style cooking, create their own salads or tacos, and enjoy modern international dishes like pho and bibimbap, a popular Korean rice bowl.

For its diverse and high quality fare, D-Hall recently earned a gold award for Best Residential Dining Facility from the National Association of College & University Food Services. University of Richmond Dining Services also received a second gold Loyal E. Horton Dining Award for Catering — Special Event for catering the presidential inauguration of the University’s 11th President, Kevin F. Hallock.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized for serving our campus community with awards that are considered the industry standard for excellence in college and university dining,” said Terry Baker, dining services executive director.

D-Hall underwent a renovation in 2022 to modernize the main serving area and introduce foods that cater to student changing tastes and special nutritional needs. New food stations such as “Herb & Olive,” “Wander,” and “Plant Life” offer customizable dishes with a global reach.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized with awards that are considered the industry standard for excellence in college and university dining."
headshot of Terry Baker
Terry Baker
Dining Services Executive Director

“Our students are increasingly sophisticated when it comes to the culinary world — they grew up watching the Food Network,” Baker said. “They often request international foods, and while they respond positively to new tastes and flavors, they also want access to familiar dishes.”

Sometimes students are drawn to grilled cheese sandwiches, meatloaf, and other dishes that remind them of home.

Menus also provide options for those with food allergies as well as vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and halal needs.

Executive Chef Tyler Betzhold said students are interested in a healthy focus. “We have a deep-rooted commitment to high-quality ingredients and local products,” Betzhold said.

“One thing we wanted to be cognizant of is that this is not just a community from Richmond,” he said. “This is a community from around the world. For some, a home-cooked meal could be chicken tikka masala.”

Regardless of where they’re from, Betzhold hopes all students feel at home in D-Hall.

“We want to do whatever we can to make them comfortable,” he said, “and to help them settle in as quickly as possible.”