By Jessica Mize
New menu items, more made-from-scratch options and improved customer service are just some of the things Barbara DeMarco has brought to the UH Dining Services table since starting on campus earlier this semester.
Recruited by the department to help build upon the University’s already stellar food program, DeMarco, a top residential dining consultant for Aramark, came on board with a plan of action in January.
“We are striving to make the University of Houston a high-performing account that is also a center of excellence that can be used as an example for other Aramark universities,” said the Texas Woman’s University graduate. “Not only are we looking to elevate the program, but also morph UH into a training location for food service directors and chefs.”
Several months and new recipes later, DeMarco has helped do just that.
“New items have been consistently added, including a vegan oatmeal raisin cookie we began serving earlier this semester,” she said. “The team and I have made an effort to put the ‘fresh’ back into Fresh Food Company.”
With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, 13 of which have been with Aramark, and a master’s degree in nutrition and biochemistry, DeMarco has definitely become a bit of an expert in her field. She’s even put her expertise to work at Texas A&M University, PF Chang’s and Good Morning America, just to name a few. It’s no wonder, then, that they’ve looked to her to train the residential dining team.
“I spend my days teaching and training the managers and staff at both residential dining locations,” she said. “My biggest delight is actually being with the staff and assisting in preparing and serving the menu for the day. I’m eager to share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years.”
Originally from Beaumont, DeMarco has made the rounds at several colleges including the University of Virginia, American University and even Queens University in Ireland. She’s happy to be back in Houston for this semester-long stint with UH.
“Houston is truly home to my family and me,” she said.