Virginia Tech is taking its award-winning dining program on the road as Executive Chef Mark Bratton, of West End Market dining center, visits the University of Massachusetts Amherst Feb. 19-21.

The dining program, part of the Division of Student Affairs office of Student Programs, was named No. 1 in The Princeton Review’s “Best 366 Colleges: 2008 Edition.” In addition to the “best campus food” ranking, dining at Virginia Tech maintains a tradition of award-winning programming, venues, and service that dates back to 1992.

During his visit, Bratton will act as a guest chef and oversee a special dinner for an estimated 2,500 students at Berkshire Dining Center on Feb. 20, where he will serve signature favorites from West End Market.

Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will have the opportunity to enjoy the same West End Market recipes popular with Virginia Tech students. The menu will include London broil with mushroom sauce, crispy chicken, roasted garlic whipped potatoes, cream of crab soup, sesame seed-crusted wild-caught salmon with wasabi cream, broiled tomatoes; and jumble berry pie, peach bread pudding, and chocolate pots de crème for dessert. The dinner will also feature coffee from Deet’s Place, Virginia Tech’s Golden Cup-certified coffee shop.

Bratton will be one of six visiting chefs at the University of Massachusetts during the 2007-08 academic year as part of their visiting chef series. Other participating universities include Harvard University, Ohio State University, and the University of Notre Dame.

“The objective is to create excitement and variety in campus dining, educate our students on regional cuisines, and to showcase the specialties of the visiting chefs,” said Ken Toong, director of Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts. “There is so much talent among our chefs, and I think they could learn greatly from each other.”

Before joining the Virginia Tech culinary team in 2000, Bratton trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, served as executive chef at the Heron Park Grille in South Carolina, and later the Bistro Savannah in Georgia.

Written by Melanie Harris.

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