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Essentials encompasses Gourmet Dining education and outreach programs.Through these programs, we promote our core values of healthy and sustainable living.The icons represent our integrated focus on Sustainability, Nutrition and Outreach and Education
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Outreach, education and collaboration are the primary ways we seek to interact with each of our host colleges and universities.

We partner to find on-site composting solutions, build edible community gardens, and connect with each department on campus to create custom catered events for various student groups, Athletics, Admissions, and Student Life.

The educational component stems from our conscientious and knowledgeable management team. Ask any of our chefs- they are passionate about creating local and seasonal meals, talking with students and communicating the message. Our chefs also hold cooking demo sessions to assist students in how to use our make your own stations including the Wok, Pasta and Omelet stations. Gourmet Dining does more than serve great food, we create the commensurate dining experience.

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Gourmet Dining’s commitment to sustainability is stronger than ever.

While we are greening our business, we believe the word “sustainability” encompasses our overarching goals of building community on campus with mindfulness of our students, the environment, farmers and all of our partners who help us achieve our sustainable goals. We foster a wholesome environment where the communities we serve can feel good about how we eat.

We do this in building our local food network, designing and building Gourmet Campus Gardens, and through educational marketing, outreach and workshops with students. We incorporate sustainable solutions on all of the campuses we serve because we know that sustainability is an essential to operate an efficient dining service and respect the environment in which we live. However, our commitment to the environment is not only important for this community, it represents who we are and what we strive to do.

By practicing sustainable living, we can do more than reduce our impact on the environment, we can actually improve it. We strive to create an environment wherein sustainable planning and operation thrive, and we hope you will join us in doing so. As part of our weekly food service committee meetings, we will team up with students to increase sustainable awareness and create engaging projects for the campus community.


Our Mission is to build a healthy foundation in nutrition knowledge, increase awareness of health issues, and expand the palate while improving food choices. Understanding nutrition and special dietary needs is an integral part of how we craft our services at Gourmet Dining. One on one nutrition therapy counseling is available to all students without charge. With a team of nationally accredited Registered Dietitians to lead the program, counseling encompasses a wide range of concerns, including:
– how to maximize dining hall options for the student with allergies
– navigating the challenges of ‘carb counting’ with a diabetic student faced with vast dining hall options
– teaching healthy cooking techniques to the inexperienced ‘picky’ eater at the self-operated wok and omelet stations – counseling on team training issues and nutrition to athletes.

Group nutrition outreach sessions are provided during meal times in dining halls at each of the 8 university campuses monthly. Topics change with current research updates and newsworthy health concerns, and content is provided in a fun and informative manner. Equipping the students with expanding nutrition knowledge is essential to a producing a healthy adult down the road.

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Campus Gardens

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  • Fall Harvest Festivals
  • Educational Events
  • Produce featured in Campus Board Dining Hall
  • Volunteers Wanted!
  • For More info Check out our partner My Local Garden

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To create organic vegetable and herb gardens, outdoor classrooms, where the learning experience is taken to a new “greener” level.

Students will have the opportunity to connect with nature and actually see what food looks like when it’s growing in the earth. These gardens will become a place where community grows, and students grow, inspired by the profound beauty and abundance of the natural world.

Gourmet Dining is partnering with our client partner institutions, designing and creating custom Gourmet Campus Gardens in diverse settings: rooftops, greenhouses and in the earth. We also provide educational programs that create community and bring healthier organic local good choices to campuses across New Jersey.

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Local Vendors

As a local company, Gourmet Dining has always known the value of buying local. Establishing relationships with local vendors is a fundamental element of our success.

We have developed trust in the service and quality of the products we receive locally, and have shared in the success of building local business in New Jersey since 1987.

While local networks have always existed at Gourmet Dining, beginning in 2005, we started an initiative to buy even more local food. Produce and baked goods have been local staples, as we buy local, seasonal produce and local baked goods all year round. With the increased number of farmers markets and selling points of local produce in New Jersey, the nationwide emphasis on buying local, and our partnerships with sustainable groups on campus, we knew it was time to make local food a top priority.

Year-round, we have a company wide initiative to buy local products. June through December, we utilize the abundance of local produce available in New York, New Jersey and the Northeast region. As with all of our purchases, we have try to find the best quality product that is closest to us in geographic region. It is our goal, especially in the summer and fall months, to buy from as many New Jersey farmers as possible. During the winter and spring months, while we purchase produce from around the country, our priority is to lower the distance our produce comes from. This means that when possible, we purchase oranges from Florida because are traveling half the distance as those from California.

The local food initiative also includes purchasing meats, seafood, cheeses, and artisanal goods. You can view a list of local farms and purveyors we use by clicking on Local Vendors. We have redirected our menu to incorporate more local seafood like Brook Trout, Scallops, Scallops and Clams. In addition to seafood, we purchase local chicken, turkey and eggs through out the year.

What are the benefits of buying local? Besides the strength of a local vendor network, there are a host of reasons why it is great to buy local. We develop our local food supply and the communities in which we live. We support local farmers and invest in their food to ensure that we will continue to produce food in New Jersey. We build relationships with the farmers and distributors we buy from, and know how they grow their crops and raise their animals. And, we reduce our community’s carbon foot print by reducing the travel time of our food.


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Local Networks

Our Partners

My Local Garden – Bernardsville, NJ

Red Tomato – North Hampton, MA

Farm to Institution – Philidephia, PA

Local Producers

Dairyland Ice Cream – Irvington, NJ

Peeled Snacks – Brooklyn, NY

Wholly Wholesome – Chester, NJ

Bagel Chateau – Millburn, NJ

Creamoland – Kearny, NJ

Local Farmers

Maugeri Farms – Swedesboro, NJ

Tassot Apiaries – New Milford, NJ

Valley Shepard Creamery – Long Valley, NJ

Cherry Grove Farm – Princeton, NJ

Terhune Orchards – Princeton, NJ

Griggstown Farms -Princeton, NJ

McGregor’s Greens – Shiloh, NJ

Goffle Farms – Wycoff, NJ

Satur Farms – Long Island, NY

Village Viking Seafood – Point Pleasant, NJ

Triple G Farms

Torrey Farms

Big O Farms

Our sources for Hudson Valley Apples & Pears

W.G. Minard & Sons Apple Orchard – Clintondale, NY

Wright Farms

M.G. Hurd & Sons

Borchert Orchards

George W. Saulaugh & Sons

Distributors of Local Products

Zone 7 – Lawrenceville, NJ

Plainfield Produce – Edison, NJ

Basis Foods – New York City

Performance Food Group (PFG/AFI)

United Natural Foods (UNFI) – York, PA

We Support Local Agriculture and Food organizations

Slow Food of Northern New Jersey

NJ Northeast Organic Farming Association

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Fair Trade Teaneck

Fair Food Philly

Hudson Valley Farm Guide – find wineries, creameries, farms, orchards and more