LU Dining managers go head-to-head in cook-off

  • Liberty dining venue managers competed for prizes in taste, presentation and overall booth at the Manager Face-off event on Oct. 25.
  • Students could visit themed booths at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall and sample the foods and explore the themes before voting.


The evening crowd at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall buzzed with activity on Oct. 25 as the Manager Face-off cooking event served a creative dining experience to a host of hungry students. Various Sodexo dining hall managers from different culinary backgrounds created a selection of themed booths in a friendly food competition for best taste, best presentation and best overall booth. Students acted as judges and sampled the various offerings spread around the dining hall from some of Sodexo’s finest.


In addition to the decorated booths, the cast of managers also dressed in costumes related to their particular theme. The available booths featured a festive variety of period and musical themes, including disco, rock, and even Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Each table was adorned with thematic decorations ranging from records to paintings.


Each booth invested a lot of time and effort into their presentations: one table was decked with a diner soda fountain theme, while the Thriller table served desserts with a TV showcasing Michael Jackson’s iconic dance moves. Each table played music from their respective eras, and a few students even took the opportunity to dance along.


Event guest Elizabeth McKinney was particularly impressed with the rock table’s Mexican cuisine, combined with the disco table’s delicious macaroni and cheese.


“I enjoyed sampling the homemade queso and chips, along with the wide variety of toppings,” McKinney said. “I liked their costumes, too; it added an extra element of fun to their presentation. It seems like most of the other groups had dessert foods, so I liked that these tables had more substantial options.”



Once students had sampled their fill of each booth, a voting table was placed beside the dining hall’s exit lane, allowing students to decide which table had the best food, or presented their theme the best. Besides bragging rights, the winners of the overall category would receive a large gold trophy to act as their culinary crown.

Each booth attracted a formidable line of hungry students, and spirits were high among Sodexo’s smiling staff.


Green Hall’s Tilley Manager Keith Wilson appreciated the comradery and friendly rivalry the event created amongst Sodexo’s manager crew.


“It takes an immense amount of teamwork and communication that we practice everyday,” Wilson said. “We’re going to crush the other tables, we hope! Our setup is great, the layout is wonderful – but with the food, we’ve had some great ideas. Only time will tell; and we even have Rock Band for people to play!”


After all votes were counted the day after the event, it was the rock-and-roll themed Table 5 who walked away as the astounding winner of not one, but all three categories offered to students for voting. The rock flair, combined with a unique selection of Mexican food, sweets and a Rock Band setup on the side reigned supreme for presentation, taste and overall top pick. The table’s managers demonstrated their inner rock star when it came to good food and great service.


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