Staff News — Food kudos and a new assistant swim coach
UCLA restaurant wins "Best Concepts" award
FEAST at Rieber's Executive Chef Mark Kim (left) and UCLA Dining Services Executive Chef Roger Pigozzi.
UCLA’s FEAST at Rieber
— an all-you-can-eat restaurant that serves a mix of seven Asian cuisines exclusively — was named the winner of Food Management (FM) magazine’s "Most Creative Menu and Dining Concept" award in its 2012 "Best Concepts" awards competition. The annual awards program recognizes exceptional achievement and innovation in noncommercial food service as judged by FM magazine’s editorial staff.
According to FM: "Rieber is located at one of the high points of the UCLA campus, where a long stair climb historically has tended to reduce participation levels. The ‘FEAST at Rieber’ concept has reversed that effect and has proven especially popular with the very large student population of Asian heritage. The dining hall and menu concept breaks new ground in the way it goes well beyond offering authentic cuisine by giving its chefs a creative environment in which innovative new menu offerings can be developed by crossing traditional culinary lines."
The menu at FEAST offers a rotating selection of more than 1,000 recipes and showcases cuisines from China, Hawaii, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. When school is in session, FEAST serves lunch; during the summer, the restaurant is open for dinner only, Mondays through Fridays from 5-8 p.m. FEAST offers two cuisines daily, served from six different stations within the restaurant. Two exhibition stations focus on authentic entrées and combination plates, while the Market and Grill stations serve up fusion and Asian-inspired creations. A self-service side dish bar offers a selection of fresh and traditional sides, such as Indian puffed rice or Korean kimchi. FEAST also offers a full salad and soup bar featuring authentic Asian selections and condiments, and a station serving Asian-influenced desserts.
The awards will be featured in a special section of the August issue of Food Management
and will be presented at the Penton Foodservice Group’s annual MUFSO Conference from Sept. 30–Oct. 2 in Dallas, Texas.
Naya Higashijima named new assistant coach for women’s swim team
UCLA Head Swim Coach Cyndi Gallagher has announced the hiring of Naya Higashijima — a former All-American swimmer for Oregon State University (OSU) — as the new assistant swim coach.
Higashijima was one of the most decorated swimmers in OSU’s history. In 2002, as a junior, she finished 10th at the NCAA championships in the 200 fly. The following season, she scored a first-team All-American honor by touching eighth in the same event.
Her previous coaching stops include a season spent as an undergraduate assistant for the Beavers from 2004-2005, when the team finished 20th at the NCAAs, and then six seasons as an assistant at UC Santa Barbara.
The Kawaguchi, Japan, native majored in Chinese and athletic administration in college.
"I am extremely excited to have Naya as a part of our coaching staff," said Gallagher. "Swimming and coaching have been a huge part of her life, as her family is still very involved in the swimming world. Her expertise and experience and passion for swimming will be an asset to our program."