NU ranked in top three universities for food by cuisine blog

Northwestern placed third among the six universities ranked by The Daily Meal food blog as the “Top Universities for Food Lovers” last week. The Daily Meal ranked schools from among those listed as the top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report rankings.

NuCuisine District Marketing Manager Pam Yee said her department was contacted by representatives from the food blog, who asked questions about the program and available food options across NU’s six dining halls. Yee said she was happy to hear that NU had been noticed for its work.

“We’re really excited about it. It’s great that we were recognized,” she said. “I think we have a great food program. The University was also excited when we forwarded them the article from The Daily Meal.”

Yee said she had also been receiving positive feedback from students and faculty who had heard about the award and were also pleased to see NU near the top of the list.

In the past, however, NU has not been as well-recognized for its dining options. The University has not placed in the top 20 colleges with the best food, based on The Princeton Review’s annual rankings, in at least the last three years. Wheaton College, Bowdoin College and Virginia Tech have consistently ranked in the top three spots. Those three universities, however, are not found in the list The Daily Meal used when they ranked the “Top Universities for Food Lovers.”

Yee said one of nuCuisine’s goals is to continue to provide local and sustainable items in both the dining halls and in the Norris University Center. It also wants to label these items as such to raise awareness about healthy food among students.

SESP freshman Natasha Mendal said though she appreciates that nuCuisine tries to offer a variety of options for every student, she doesn’t always feel that she is getting a complete and healthy meal when dining on campus.

“I think they try hard and some of the things they have like the homemade options, the desserts and the bread are really good, and when they have freshly cut fruit,” Mendal said. “But there are not a lot of healthy options really. There’s pizza and burgers and fries every day and sometimes I just want a nice piece of chicken and rice and to not have to eat fast food 24/7.”

The Daily Meal reports NU is “passionate about student engagement” when it comes to food, hosting themed nights in dining halls, such as the Morrocan Night in Willard.

Weinberg sophomore Naina Desai said she generally enjoys these themed events at dining halls.

“They have things like formal dinners and they always have a nice option like chicken or steak and they always bring out the good desserts,” she said. “It’s always also nicely decorated which makes you at least want to go to the dining hall.”

Yee said themed nights that offer authentic cuisine are important to the NU dining experience and for receiving feedback from students. These special occasions are determined by a committee that includes nuCuisine marketing managers and chefs.

Desai said while she is a vegetarian and often eats in Norris, she thinks the dining halls always have a wide variety of food, including vegetarian options at 1835 Hinman’s dining hall.

Looking forward, Yee said nuCuisine will consider the blog’s recognition as a reinforcement to continue the current program’s offerings.

“We always look for ways to improve,” she said. “We make little changes every year to help build upon nuCuisine.”

[email protected]