Virginia Tech’s Office of Student Programs has won three Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS).

Director of Housing and Dining Services Rick Johnson said: “We strive to produce entertaining, educational dining experiences for our students, so we are very proud and gratified when our efforts are recognized by a prestigious national organization such as NACUFS. A gold medal recognizes the outstanding effort of the management and staff team, while raising the spirit and enthusiasm level for the entire organization.”

Winning the gold award in the catering special event category was Hollywood Night, the Chef Series Premier Event, held on Feb. 27 in Shultz Dining Center. The elegant reception and four-course dinner provided students a chance to enjoy a gourmet experience and showcased our star-studded culinary team. When students made reservations online, they also voted for their Oscar picks. One voter was randomly selected to win a limousine ride to and from the event, two free tickets, and a spa package.

As students approached Shultz Dining Center, swirling beams of light shot two miles up through the clear, winter night. Students became stars as they posed for instant photographs on the red carpet with a black, stretch limousine and as paparazzi snapped pictures from behind the velvet rope. Students followed the red carpet into the reception, where they enjoyed mocktails and an assortment of sushi and canapés while rubbing elbows with “Marilyn Monroe,” “Joan Rivers,” “Rodney Dangerfield,” and “Jack Nickolson” and listening to the sound tracks of the best picture-nominated films.

When the velvet ropes were opened to the dining area, students saw that the traditional dining hall was transformed into an elegant, gold, white, and black-clad dinner theater with gathered, floor-to-ceiling panels of gossamer white and gold, and a theater-size projection screen displaying the live red carpet show and Academy Awards in California. Students savored Kobe steak and lobster — just like the Academy Award attendees, shrimp and scallops, lamb loin, and much more. They also received golden gift bags brimming with goodies, including a Virginia Tech-version of the Oscar statuette — a golden Hokie bird. Three lucky students won door prizes.

Winning the silver award in residence hall dining multiple concepts or outlets category was D2. In November 2004, Virginia Tech celebrated the Grand Opening of D2 — an international, marketplace-style dining facility in Dietrick Hall, formerly known as The Depot at Dietrick. This all-you-care-to-eat facility offers the culinary variety and nutritional choices today’s students crave in its eight shops: Salsas, with Mexican fare; Pan Asia, with wok-prepared Asian selections; Gauchos, featuring skewered meats and other Brazilian items; Mangia!, with pasta and wood oven-fired pizzas; Eden’s, with fresh vegetables and salads; East Side Deli, with hot and cold made-to-order sandwiches; Olives, featuring Mediterranean vegan and vegetarian selections; and La Patisserie, with pastries and desserts. D2 is guided by an Olympic gold medal winner, Executive Chef Chad Tyler Brodkin. With a seating capacity of 1,066 in almost 93,000 square feet, D2 sports a sleek, modern interior that is punctuated with colorful art objects.

Reconstruction of this facility was completed in an unbelievable 162 days for $6.5 million — that’s $3.7 million more than the whole building cost to construct in 1970. The renovation was performed by architects at MMM Design Group and contractors Branch and Associates Inc. in partnership with Virginia Tech staff and student advisory committees. Surrounded by residence halls, academic buildings, and administrative buildings, D2 has proved to be a winning facility in the right place at the right time.

Earning an honorable mention for a residence hall theme dinner, the Luau Feast was held on April 29, 2004, in appreciation for Virginia Tech’s patronage of Dietrick and Shultz Dining Centers. For this event, the lawn in front of Dietrick was transformed into a Hawaiian paradise, complete with pineapple trees, an exploding volcano, a fire pit, thatched huts, and tiki-torches. Guests were treated to a grand Hawaiian buffet and a professional hula dancer entertained.

“A Horton award submission is only as good as its presentation,” Johnson . “These nationally competitive award submissions involve months of preparation and are subject to strict rules about size, word counts, and even weight. Preparing these submissions artfully and correctly for consideration is a feat in itself.” The Hollywood Night submission was prepared by Katie Younger Ghert, graphic designer and Blacksburg resident. Holli Drewry, art director and Blacksburg resident, prepared the D2 entry and Nancy Bagato Reed, graphic designer and Blacksburg resident, prepared the Luau Feast entry.