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Richard Berlin Named New Dining Director

By Jennifer Chung

MIT announced the selection of a new dining director last week.

The new director, Richard Berlin, will be responsible for the Office of Campus Dining and the implementation of the dining model created earlier by such groups as the MIT Dining Implementation Team. Berlin will be dealing not only with the MIT dining system but also other alternative dining groups on-campus.

“As the dining director, [Berlin] will... specifically have the responsibility of overseeing the relationship with Aramark, but also the relationship with the [food] trucks that are over near [the] biology [building],” and all of the campus catering systems and campus vending system, said Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh.

Berlin “will also have an advisory coordination role with the student-run businesses on campus,” such as the Coffeehouse, the Junior Class Donut Stand in Lobby 7, and the Graduate Student Council-run Muddy Charles Pub and Thirsty Ear, Walsh said.

Berlin to bring experience to MIT

The start date for Berlin’s tenure has not yet been determined, although he will be visiting MIT later this week for “a bit of orientation” and to deal with housing arrangements, Walsh said. Berlin was chosen from among three finalists, after an MIT search team narrowed down the original applicant field of 90 candidates to 15.

Berlin most recently served as the assistant director of Dining Services at Duke University, “which is a rather large system,” Walsh said. Prior to Duke, Berlin served in in the office of dining at Cornell University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Connecticut, as well as a degree in the culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America.

“Both Duke and Cornell... have always come out as two schools that rank very high” in terms of customer satisfaction, Walsh said. Berlin “is bringing with him both a very well-developed set of skills” in areas including the operation of dining services, the supervision of contractors working in dining systems, working with students, “and he also knows the culinary side,” Walsh said.

“At Duke, they have a student dining advisory committee that he [has worked] with very closely, so he has that experience,” Walsh said.

MIT looks forward to Berlin

“I’m very happy that he’ll be our new director,” said John S. Hollywood G, who was a member of the Dining Implementation Team. “He has some good culinary skills, and some very good business and organizational skills,” Hollywood said.

Duke outsources much of its dining, and Berlin “was one of the chief designers and the manager of the outsourcing part” of the current system, Hollywood added.

“I think goal-oriented is the best way to describe him,” said Jake H. Parrott ’00, who also served as a member of the Dining Implementation Team and a member of the dining director search team which chose Berlin. “[He has] varied experiences including experience running restaurants,” Parrott said.

“With Berlin as the head of the Office of Campus Dining, I think MIT will be able to make significant improvements to the dining program within the current system,” Parrott added.

“We’re pretty excited,” Walsh said.