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Campus Center Caribbean Cuisine Wins National Food Award

Calypso's signature dishes are slow-cooked for an authentic pan-Caribbean taste. (Photo by Kat Tamburro)

Chef Jude Jerome working his magic on a traditional Caribbean dish at Calypso. (Photo by Michelle Bowen)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2019) — Calypso, the popular Caribbean retail venue in the Campus Center, has won the nationally recognized Best Menu Concept Award by Food Management, a trade magazine focusing on news and trends in non-commercial foodservice.

Since Calypso's inception in Fall 2017, the lunch and dinner spot has won the hearts of many with its unwavering dedication to traditional pan-Caribbean food, a cuisine choice that was considered only after students requested it during a texting poll hosted Auxiliary Services (UAS) just months before the new Campus Center was slated to open.

Rushing to meet student demand, UAlbany Dining’s Executive Chef Jude Jerome, a native of Haiti, got right to work and developed Calypso. “The flavors of Calypso were already a part of me,” Jerome said. “They are my heritage and my first memories.”

According to Michelle Bowen, the senior director of marketing and communications for UAS, "The number one reason for Calypso's success is the homemade taste Chef Jude is able to achieve with every dish. There is nothing dumbed-down about this campus brand.”

Food Management notes that Calypso is unique for a college campus because of its authenticity, both in its menu choices (from a Jamaican oxtail stew to Cuban ropa vieja) and its traditional cooking methods, including slow-cooking stews for hours to bring out flavors.

There is no other college that has a genuine Caribbean brand ‘born’ on its campus, Bowen said. The fact that Calypso works out of the smallest space in the Campus Center, and yet manages to serve approximately 520-600 customers per day is yet another great achievement, she added. “We are very fortunate.”

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