Virginia Tech's Housing and Dining Services, a department within the Division of Student Affairs, is taking its award-winning dining program on the road.

Executive Chef Mark Bratton of West End Market dining center will visit the University of Massachusetts Amherst May 4-7. During his visit, Bratton will act as a guest chef and oversee a special dinner for an estimated 2,500 students at Berkshire Dining Commons on May 5, 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 grilled southwest chicken salad, seafood gumbo, Cajun roast pork loin with Alsatian applesauce, grilled mahi-mahi, white pizza with artichoke hearts, and New York strip steak with horseradish cream. The dinner will also feature coffee from Deet’s Place, Virginia Tech’s Golden Cup-certified coffee shop.

Inspired by last year’s success, Bratton will be one of 12 visiting chefs at the University of Massachusetts during the 2008-09 school year as part of their visiting chef series. Other participating universities include Yale University, University of California Berkeley, Northwestern University, and the University of Western Ontario.

“The chef program is similar to a visiting professor series,” said Ken Toong, director of dining services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, “and will include an honorarium for the visiting chefs. 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.”

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

Written by Melanie Harris.

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