UW News

March 30, 2006

University Catering sports new name, new style, new foods

University Catering is now Bay Laurel Catering, a change much more than just cosmetic. In name, look and menu, the catering division of Housing and Food Services has undergone a significant transformation.

“We wanted a name that would embrace the culture and spirit of our renowned University, a name that would communicate our passion for food and catering,” said Debbie Proctor, administrator for catering, who has worked at the UW for 29 years in a variety of roles. “We delved deep into University history and explored the entire campus with the eyes of someone who had stepped onto it for the very first time. Then, it came to us: Bay Laurel Catering at the University of Washington.”

The name comes from the environment. Walk the UW campus and you will see bay laurels adorning walkways and green spaces. In fact, at 40 feet high, the two bay laurel trees next to Sieg Hall’s entrance are the largest in Washington. For word buffs, the term “bachelor” signifying a college degree is derived from bacca-laureus or laurel-berry. And, appropriately for a catering service, the bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) is one of three essential herbs in the traditional French “bouquet garni,” used to flavor sauces, stews, meats and soups.

The new name and new logo also accentuate the increased level of professional attention given to detail at every stage of the catering process, HFS staff say. “We will be continuing to evaluate our catering operations in an effort to address input and suggestions from the campus community,” said William Beauchere, Bay Laurel’s events manager. “From new menus and presentation styles to customer service standards and more flexible policies, we will be making many exciting changes in the coming year — changes that will flow through our entire catering operation.” Beauchere has 19 years of catering experience.

Proctor, whose background also includes being born into a family of Seattle restaurant owners, accentuates the point: “As a division of University of Washington Housing and Food Services, we are engaged with our campus community. We understand our customers and are dedicated to providing the creativity, flexibility and excellence the University expects from their on-campus caterer.”

According to Executive Chef Robert Nash, customers will find many new menu items, such as the steak, goat cheese and arugula salad — chargrilled sirloin steak with herb-crusted goat cheese on a bed of baby arugula with a citrus vinaigrette, and upscale grills like the Montlake, featuring grilled wild-caught salmon. Customers will also enjoy seasonal featured dishes and are welcome to draw upon the creativity of Chef Robert, who will gladly develop custom menus for special events.

To get a sense of the new look and for more information, see the newly revised Bay Laurel Web site, http://hfs.washington.edu/catering/ or call the Bay Laurel Catering office in Haggett Hall at 206-685-2051.

HFS catering chef creates winning dish

Bay Laurel Catering Sous Chef Jacob Moyer finished with the highest score in this year’s NACUFS Pacific Region Culinary Challenge, a prestigious American Culinary Federation competition for the Pacific region’s top chefs. Moyer’s inventive dishes have placed him among the top three chefs for each of the past five competitions he has participated in.

Moyer’s award winning dish was a pan-fried breast of chicken with a parmesan crust, served with semolina gnocci with a warm tomato vinaigrette. The strict competition is reminiscent of Iron Chef and is judged by master chefs from around the country. Competitors must prepare a dish from scratch with very limited raw ingredients, in a restricted time period. They create their dishes on a stage in front of a live audience. As the winner, Moyer has been invited to compete in the prestigious ACF National Culinary Challenge this July. (Read a profile about Moyer on the Bay Laurel Catering web pages, http://hfs.washington.edu/catering/.)