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Sullivan Has Top Campus Dining Program in Kentucky

Not only is Sullivan University's culinary program known around the world, it turns out the students are eating pretty well, too.

Sullivan University's campus dining program has been rated #1 in Kentucky and #31 in the country by Niche.com, a Pittsburgh-based company that operates a popular ranking and review site of schools, colleges, cities and neighborhoods.

Nearly 1,400 colleges from throughout the country including 27 in Kentucky were ranked largely through student surveys. Northern Kentucky University ranked #11, and Thomas More College ranked #16 out of the 27 Kentucky schools listed.

"The 2017 Best College Food ranking is based on meal plan costs and student reviews," Niche.com says on a website posting announcing the rankings. "Top-ranked colleges offer outstanding on-campus dining. Students can easily access healthy, quality food across a wide range of cuisines and dietary preferences."

Jon Kell, director of Food& Beverage Operations for Sullivan University, said the rankings are a recognition of the outstanding job performed by his team of about 40, many of whom are Sullivan University graduates.

"This speaks so highly of our staff and of Sullivan University," Kell said. "To be number one in the state and the 31st program in the country is just amazing. Number one was UCLA, which has an enrollment of about 45,000. To be in the same company of schools like that is just tremendous for Sullivan University.

"I have a very talented team that I'm honored to be a part of," said Kell.

Kell said he was particularly proud that the results of the Niche.com survey was based largely on how much students like the quality and variety of the food prepared through Sullivan University's dining program.

"The real beauty of this," said Kell, who has worked in the hospitality industry his entire career and owned and operated Wildflour Bakery in Covington before joining Sullivan, "is that this based on how much the students like our food. For those of us who spend our careers making food, there is no higher praise than someone really enjoying what you've prepared."

Kell's team prepares meals for Sullivan students, staff and faculty in the university's residence hall and main campus cafeteria in addition to operating an in-house catering company and a bakery across Bardstown Road from Sullivan's main campus in Louisville.

What are the students favorite dishes?

"Of  course students are always going to love pizza and chicken tenders," Kell said. "But we have a good contingent of culinary students,  so we are able to go outside the box and do some creative things. I have a great chef who does amazing Korean food and another that was the executive chef  at Jeff Ruby's and so she has a fine dining steakhouse background, so a couple of times a quarter we'll do steak and crab night in the residence hall.

"The team does a great job being creative with their menus but still producing very approachable food," he said. "We’re also able to utilize the products from our world class Bakery. So many campuses these days are filled with chain restaurants or operated by large conglomerates that I think they lose that personal touch. "

To view the Niche.com rankings, click here.

-Staff report

Image via Sullivan