September 22, 2023

UMW Serves Three-Course Dining-Service Success Story

Joye Thomas, Rigoberto Mendoza and Emily Bond

Joye Thomas, Rigoberto Mendoza, Emily Bond

University of Mary Washington’s Catering Executive Chef Rigoberto Mendoza was one of only 14 chefs featured in a June 17 front-page Food Management Magazine article about college dining chefs who made a difference over the last year. The next week, Food Management Magazine ran another front-page piece about college dining associates who also made a difference during the year. University Dining Senior Cook Emily Bond and Marketing Assistant Joye Thomas were two of only 22 people included in that showcase!

University Dining General Manager David Schneider said, “We’re very proud of Chef Rigo, Emily and Joye for getting this well-deserved recognition. They bring tremendous dedication, talent and heart to our dining operations, and we’re extremely pleased that Food Management Magazine gave some great national recognition to them, our dining team and the University of Mary Washington.” The following are excerpts from Food Management Magazine’s feature stories about college chefs and dining associates who made an impact last year.

Catering Executive Chef Rigoberto Mendoza

Catering Executive Chef Rigoberto Mendoza

Executive Chef Rigoberto Mendoza

One of 14 college dining chefs who made a difference.

“Rigoberto is a supremely talented chef who has invested tremendous time and effort into training his catering culinary team, as well as members of the resident dining culinary staff. He is known for his exceptional food and presentations, particularly those prepared for the president of the university and other VIP events, and he takes the time to share his knowledge and skill with the rest of his team. He is an innovator, creating custom recipes and menus for a broad range of dining events. He is extremely dedicated. Besides the many hours he spends on his catering events, he still provides great support to the rest of our dining operations. He does everything from cooking at our Campus Grill, to planning menus, to meeting with students, to washing dishes!”

University Dining Senior Cook Emily Bond

University Dining Senior Cook Emily Bond

Emily Bond, Senior Cook

One of 22 college dining associates who made a difference last year.

“Emily is one of the primary cooks for our resident dining program, and she is quick, efficient, and very skilled! She stays on top of everything, anticipating the needs of the various points of service, and ensuring that everyone has everything they need, from the beginning to the end of service. She’s very supportive of all her co-workers, hopping on any station whenever they need help. She’s especially good at preparing dishes for our special dining events, making sure they properly reflect the theme or ethnic culture of the event.”

Joye Thomas, Marketing Assistant

One of 22 college dining associates who made a difference last year.

University Dining Marketing Assistant Joye Thomas

University Dining Marketing Assistant Joye Thomas

“Joye serves on Fredericksburg’s Citizen Advisory Panel, where she is an advisor to the police and a liaison for the community. She took on this role because she wants to make a real difference in the world. After the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, it became clear to her that change was needed in our community policing practices. She has been part of a taskforce that re-wrote the city police department’s directives on various issues, including the use of force. Joye was also elected by the city council and mayor of Fredericksburg to serve as a commissioner on the Fredericksburg Arts Commission, which is responsible for a multitude of arts initiatives. It awards grants to local artist and arts organizations, runs a sculpture program, coordinates First Friday celebrations and more!”

University of Mary Washington Catering The Best in the Burg!

UMW Catering Voted Best in the Burg!Thank you for voting University of Mary Washington Catering The Best in the Burg in The Free Lance-Star newspaper! Congratulations to the University of Mary Washington and Sodexo for this exciting honor!

Limited Reservations for Grand Finale Dinner

Campus Dining is hosting a Grand Finale Dinner on Wednesday, April 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. to bid farewell to Seacobeck as a dining facility. Guests will enjoy photo displays from Seacobeck’s earlier years and an extensive dinner menu that will include Steamship Round of Beef, Smoked Salmon, Coq Au Vin and a host of other culinary treats.

The cost for alumni, faculty and staff is $5 plus tax and  $10.75 plus tax for all other guests.

Everyone is invited to join in the celebratory dinner, which will be held in the dining rooms at Seacobeck.  A limited number of reservations are being accepted by e-mailing or calling 540-654-2169. When reservations are no longer available there will be open seating on a first come, first served basis.

Chefs’ Fare Returns to UMW

The University of Mary Washington Dining Services will host its annual Chefs’ Fare on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Seacobeck Hall on the Fredericksburg campus. The event marks the first of six culinary contests leading to the awarding of the 2015 District Chefs’ Fare.

Returning this year as the 2014 District Chefs’ Fare winner, UMW’s culinary team will face chefs from five other area universities, including the College of William and Mary. In an Olympic-themed culinary competition, each chef will prepare small meals that reflect the cuisine of countries that participate in the Olympic games. Guests will taste the dishes of each chef and vote for their favorite meal to determine the winning culinary team. The Chefs’ Fare is open to the public at a cost of $11.15 plus tax.

After all six competitions are completed,  an overall  2015 District Chefs’ Fare winner will be named based upon the number of contest wins and the quality of the Chefs’ Fares hosted by each university. Last year UMW’s culinary team received a “knife in the stone” trophy, currently on display in the Dome Room at Seacobeck Hall.

For additional information about the event, contact UMW Dining Services Marketing Coordinator Rose Benedict at (540) 654-2169.

“Carving for a Cure” Raises $400 for Relay for Life

The winners of "Carving for a Cure" pose with the judges, including President Hurley.

The winners of “Carving for a Cure” pose with the judges, including President Hurley.

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, “Carving for a Cure,” a pumpkin carving contest on Ball Circle, raised more than $400 for UMW’s Relay for Life.

For the first time, the annual contest was co-sponsored by UMW Dining Services and Relay for Life. More than 20 groups of students entered their pumpkins to win one of three prizes, while dozens more carved pumpkins simply to get in the Halloween spirit.

President Richard V. Hurley and staff members from University Relations and the James Farmer Multicultural Center judged the pumpkins on creativity and originality, theme, and overall execution.

Dining Services donated 50 pumpkins, refreshments and prizes for the event.

The following students won prizes for their pumpkins:

  • Kenneth Haddon placed first for his “Incredible Hulk”-themed pumpkin;
  • Julia Burzynski placed second for her UMW-themed pumkin;
  • and Laura Cutosky placed third for her Tinkerbell pumpkin.

For more photos from the event, check out Graphic Designer Amy Alexander’s album on Facebook.

Seacobeck Closed for Summer Break

Seacobeck Dining Hall is closed for a summer break as of Thursday, July 27. Service will resume later in August. Check out the Eagle Dining website or Facebook page in the coming weeks for information on fall dining options and service times.

Holiday Food Donation Program Goes Curbside

The UMW campus and community food drive will collect non-perishable food items at the FRED bus stop outside Seacobeck on Monday, November 22, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Last year faculty, staff, students and the community donated more than 4,000 pounds of food in support of people in need. The annual event is sponsored by UMW Dining Services and Sodexo. All food collected will be donated to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank and other local charities. Volunteer opportunities are also available to help collect the donated items. Call Rose Benedict at 1928, or contact her via e-mail at