Campus / News / February 21, 2008

Fresh food ideas from new director

Helmut Mayer, who received his degree in culinary arts from the School for Hospitality Management in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria, has started here at Knox as the new Director of Dining Services. Mayer has had executive chef positions in Vienna, Amsterdam, Cairo, and New Delhi.

“I met someone in India, a woman of course, and I guess I fell head over heels,” said Mayer, when he explained how he wound up at Knox. “She wanted to go to the U.S. In short, love brought me here.”

He started his work in America with Radisson Hotels, who sponsored his green card.

There are several changes Mayer wishes to make to our dining system, including ones brought up by Knox students during his interview for his new position. These consisted of an expanded recycling program and composting and sustainability options. Knox’s sustainability options are entirely dependent on its location and may be difficult to work out.

“The first order of business is to get rid of all the trans-fats,” Mayer. Adding more “made-to-order” foods and “ethnic variety” will also be explored.

“Maybe we’ll even put a little more love in what we produce. [Our] primary goals are just improving what we offer and how we offer it. That’s what we’re here for,” he said.

The Knox environment, as a smaller college campus, is much different from Mayer’s previous places of work. His last job was at a hospital.

“The main difference is it’s actually a place I want to work. It’s only my second day here, and I’m having fun. I think you have a really great place,” said Mayer.

“I think he will be very good for the college, students, and dining staff. He’ll bring a new perspective on how we’re doing things,” said Assistant Director of Dining Margie Kain. “Personally I’d like to see some changes in the options provided at the Gizmo. I’d also like to see a closer look taken at what we offer at the different dining venues and how to make them unique and different from one another.”

“My door is always open, and I thrive on other people’s ideas,” said Mayer.

Sadie Arft

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