Chartwells Higher Education Curates Sustainable, Plant-Based Pop-Up Stations for National Vegan Month

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Chartwells Higher Education is continuing their ongoing commitment to sustainability with the introduction of new plant-based options on campus. Vegan Awareness Month provided the perfect opportunity for Chartwells Higher Education to team up with students and staff to improve their health, reduce food costs, support local communities, and improve the environment.

Expanding upon their already successful FYUL program and introducing alternative meat options such as Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger, Chartwells challenged their chefs to create not only plant-based dishes but full scale pop-ups that can be creatively executed on campus to provide variety and alternatives to traditional campus dining.

“Over the past year our plant-based options have increased in popularity by over 30%,” says Chartwells Higher Education Vice President of Sustainability and Culinary Services, Laura Lapp. GenZ students are more mindful of what they are eating, where their food is coming from and the impact it is making on the environment. While we have a growing number of vegan and vegetarian menu items available to our culinarians, we sought further opportunities to educate and offer these dishes to our guests through small, intimate pop up experiences.”


Throughout the month, chefs were challenged to come up with vegan-based recipes and pop-up experiences aimed at educating guests as well as offering unique plant-based cuisines. The month-long initiative generated 76 submissions and vegan experiences on Chartwells campuses across the country. The winners of the pop-up contest were chosen based on their creativity with plant-based foods:

  • First Place: Manager-In-Training Valerie Hearn at the University of North Florida created a build-your-own vegan donut and apple cider bar with creamy chocolate glaze, sweet velvety vanilla icing and fruit toppings. Over 350 guests enjoyed the country-chic bar which was decorated with pink accents as a nod to breast cancer awareness.
  • Second Place: Chef Tom Barton at Northeastern University took their popular pop-up series and crafted an all vegan-themed station featuring their award winning vegan chili with mushrooms, vegan grilled cheese made with cauliflower and a kelp berry smoothie.
  • Third Place: Chef Tim Dunn from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, created a mushroom-based pop-up station with North Carolina Pulled “Port” Sandwiches, Shredded Port Carnitas Tacos, Mushroom and Red Lentil Portballs and Portobello Pups.

As a result of this contest, over 100 new vegan recipes were added to Chartwells menu portfolio. Chartwells continues to look for ways to bring plant-based options to Chartwells campuses as the trend and the demand for vegan meals continues to grow.