Kennesaw State director of culinary and hospitality services receives award

Gary Coltek named “FoodService Director of the Month” by industry group

KENNESAW, Ga. (July 23, 2012) —Citing his passion for good food and sustainability, the website FoodServiceDirector.com has named Gary Coltek its “FoodService Director of the Month.” Coltek is Kennesaw State University’s director of Culinary and Hospitality Services.

“When the foodservice program at a 25,000-student university in a suburb of Atlanta bests the behemoth that is the Walt Disney World Resort, its director demands to be noticed,” the web site states in its write-up on Coltek. “Kennesaw State University’s dining department has created a program that upstages many others, especially when it comes to sustainability.”

In May, Culinary and Hospitality Services won the National Restaurant Association’s Innovator of the Year Award, which earned the department its bragging rights over Disney, which was also up for the award. Citing its “comprehensive, closed-loop waste management program” and “Farm to Campus to Farm” initiative, this was the first time an educational institution was selected to receive the prestigious Innovator of the Year award.

The department composts about 60,000 pounds of food waste per month. The composted waste is processed into a nutrient-dense water source, which is used as irrigation at the campus farms, thus closing the loop. The operation also diverts 44,000 pounds of non-compostable waste a month from landfills, and more than 220 gallons of cooking oil is recycled annually for use as biodiesel.

“Beyond waste management, it is what the department has been able to procure locally that is really impressive,” the website states. “The department receives the bounty of three campus farms, an on-campus permaculture garden and more than 10 hydroponic units located in The Commons.”

While Coltek is quick to credit his team with the department’s success, Culinary and Hospitality Services’ marketing manager Melissa McMahon said the honor is well deserved.

“He has such an incredible vision and imagination when it comes to what he is passionate about, which is providing healthy and delicious food for our students and sustainability,” McMahon told the website. “He makes it so difficult to not be as passionate as he is.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of 24,600 from 130 countries.