University of Iowa Campus Dining Operations – Iowa City, Iowa
An Interview with Barry Greenberg, Executive Chef
Executive Chef Barry Greenberg manages Campus Dining Operations, a large – and growing – service at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. A part of the University of Iowa Division of Student Life, Campus Dining is responsible for student dining operations, University Catering, and retail operations on campus.
How did you get involved in cooking? What has your career path been?
I began cooking with my mom. I learned the basics and she occasionally relied on me to get dinner started. She worked outside of the house, so it was a pretty typical latch-key kids situation. When I took my first job in high school, I was a busboy at a large restaurant that hosted many weddings and events. I was always impressed by what the chefs were doing, and took another job cooking at a family-style restaurant. I went to culinary school right out of high school, then traveled a bunch learning about different cuisines along the way.
I met my wife and decided to go back to school for my management degree. I took a “practice” interview with The University of Iowa when they were recruiting on campus. One thing led to another and we decided to stay put here in Iowa. I have started my 24th year on campus and have loved the work, the people, and Iowa City.
How do you meet the needs of your customers?
Our catering operation will go anywhere and do anything, from box lunches to weddings and everything in between. Our students who dine on campus eat in one of two (soon to be three) Marketplaces that are multi-platform/multi-menu buffets. Our student guests eat with us two or three times a day for 32+ weeks out of the year, so they need to see new things on a regular basis.
How do you use Iowa Choice Harvest products?
We use Iowa Choice Harvest corn in our Marketplaces as well as our catering operations. The corn is featured in soups, entrees, and side dishes regularly.
What do you like about using Iowa Choice Harvest sweet corn?
The flavor is beyond compare to what other frozen vegetable producers are offering. We love the fact that the product is grown right here in Iowa and that it tastes great and performs well in our applications.
Why have you made using Iowa-local foods an important part of your cooking?
The fewer miles a product has to travel to be on our guests’ plates the better. Supporting local growers just makes sense to us, and the benefits of being able to serve a high quality and great tasting product makes serving Iowa Choice Harvest an easy decision.