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George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University, Dallas

Catering Kitchen

The 1,175-square-foot catering kitchen can accommodate events from intimate 8- to 12-person luncheons to 850-guest receptions. Event locations include the museum's Hall of State ballroom, function rooms and Freedom Hall. The Culinaire team handles all catering production here with the exception of fresh baked goods, some pastries and breakfast specialties such as Danishes for very large groups. "If a client makes a request to serve a specific cookie from a specific local bakery, we will honor the request," Maas says. "The complete satisfaction of the client and their guests is our ultimate goal."

"One of the challenges with catering in the museum and restaurant is we can only cater events in the evenings in order not to interfere with guests enjoying the museum," Wood says. On the other hand, the culinary staff caters breakfast and lunch events in the Institute space (the Hall of State and surrounding rooms) during all parts of the day.

"Though the space is tight and it's tricky for staff to get through the corridors, having a separate catering kitchen is a luxury many museums don't have," Farrand says. For events far from the catering kitchen, staff transport the food in cold and hot mobile units to staging areas where food is plated before service.

When staff receive food deliveries, they place them into a walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer and dry storage. "Like in the restaurant kitchen's storage, we make sure everything is rotated based on 'first in, first out,'" Maas says. "However, unlike in the restaurant where we know exactly what we'll be using daily, in the catering operation, every menu is different, so we have to order differently and make sure food items are available for each event."

The cold prep area contains prep tables with sinks, a 40-quart food mixer, slicer, ice cream machine and blenders. On the hot line, a double-stacked combi oven roasts meats, and smokes and steams meats and vegetables. A double-stacked convection oven bakes mini cupcakes, biscuits and other baked goods. Staff use the six-burner range extensively to cook delicate fish, crepes, polenta and other menu items. They also fry fresh potato chips. A tilting skillet allows staff to cook pasta and rice, braise meats and make sauces and stocks in large volumes.

"We're doing a lot of sous vide in catering," Maas says. "We're using the sous vide recirculator unit for boneless steaks and finishing them at service by searing in a traditional manner before plating. This allows for a highly consistent and perfectly cooked steak on every plate. Using sous vide is relatively new for me, and I like it because, in addition to the consistency, we can achieve some unique textures and flavors."

A small beverage area contains coffee and tea brewers, a beverage dispenser, ice bin and ice maker.

For dishwashing, staff use a door-type machine, prerinse unit, three-compartment sink, silver soak machine and dirty and clean dishtables.

The only piece of equipment Maas wishes he had in the catering kitchen is a grill. "There's no space under the hood to add the grill," he says. "So we use the restaurant grill when we can or improvise in the catering kitchen."

Courtyard Café

The 600-square-foot Courtyard Café receives most of its prepared food from the catering kitchen.

"The coffee shop was designed to take some pressure off the restaurant and give customers a faster dining option," Eaton says. "It also is used for a staging area for catered events."

The Courtyard Café's kitchen contains a full array of beverage equipment, including an espresso/cappuccino machine, coffee and tea brewers, beverage dispensers, as well as ice bins and cube-style ice maker.

In addition to two reach-in refrigerators, a roll-in refrigerator, walk-in refrigerator and a freezer, this space holds a soup well, sandwich toaster, bakery case, ice cream cabinet and refrigerated display case. Catering equipment such as enclosed and heated cabinets and mobile worktables support staff when they use the space to prepare food for events.

Presidential Suite Kitchen

This 645-square-foot facility in the Institute building resembles the Café 43 kitchen, including the pass-through windows on the hot line. Food sits in reach-in refrigerators and a worktop freezer until staff take it out for prep on worktables. The hot cook area features a countertop steamer, convection oven, charbroiler, griddle, six-burner range, salamander broiler, French-top range and a fryer with a dump station. Heat lamps hang over counters for holding menu items briefly while an entire meal or group of meals is assembled.

The beverage area contains coffee and tea brewers, an espresso/cappuccino machine and an ice maker with a bin. In addition, this kitchen contains its own dishwashing area with a three-compartment sink, undercounter dishwasher and clean dish storage cabinet.

The Future

With its proximity to Southern Methodist University, the George W. Bush Presidential Center continues to attract visitors, student activities and conferences. The foodservice will continue to evolve so dining is part of the learning experience.

Facts of Note:

  • Client/Owner: National Archives and Records Administration (Library and Museum); George W. Bush Foundation (Institute)
  • Opened: April 25, 2013
  • Anticipated Annual Visitors: 500,000
  • Scope and Size of Project: The entire center, 226,560 sq. ft., comprises 3 buildings: the Presidential Library and Museum; the Institute; and Archives. Café 43, 1,460-sq-ft. café kitchen and 2,724-sq.-ft. dining room (located in the Presidential Library and Museum); catering kitchen, 1,175 sq. ft. serving customers in the Hall of State auditorium/ballroom, function rooms, lobby (in the Institute); a presidential kitchen, 645 sq. ft, (in the Institute); and the Courtyard Café, 600 sq. ft. (in between the Presidential Library and Museum and the Institute)
  • Seats: Café 43, 80 inside and 30 on patio; Courtyard Café, 32; Hall of State auditorium/ballroom in the Institute, 350
  • Average Check, Projected: Café 43, $16 at lunch; Courtyard Café, $7
  • Total Annual Sales, Projected: Café 43, $1.2 million; Courtyard Café, $250,000; catering, $2 million
  • Transactions, Projected: Café, 200 customers daily; Courtyard Café, 100 customers daily
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Menu Specialties: Café 43 offers approachable, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients prepared from scratch that appeal to Dallas diners and Bush Center visitors. Current
  • favorites include hummus, smoked chicken salad, the pulled pork sandwich and halibut over braised greens. At the Courtyard Café, soup, sandwiches, salads and baked items made fresh daily are available with grab-and-go service in mind. Catering menus are customized and designed to suit the specific event needs of each client.
  • Staff: Café 43, two hosts, resident manager, six servers, two runners; Café 43 kitchen, three on the hot line, two on the cold line, one for expediting/support and a dishwasher; Courtyard Café, two cashiers; catering, staffing varies daily based on size and scope of catered events
  • Total Project Cost: $250 million
  • Equipment Investment: $1.053 million
  • Website: www.bushcenter.org

Key Players

  • President, George W. Bush Foundation: Mark Langdale
  • Vice President of Operations, George W. Bush Foundation: Brian Cossiboom
  • Architects and Interior Designers: Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP, New York City; Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, lead designer; project partners Augusta Barone, Alexander Lamis, AIA, and Graham S. Wyatt, AIA; James Pearson, project designer; and many others. Foodservice consultants worked mainly with Barone and Susan Ryder, project associate
  • Furnishing: Gensler (contract); Blasingame Design (Presidential Reception Hall)
  • Interior Architects: Robert A.M. Stern Architects with Robert A.M. Stern Interior Design (RAMSI), New York; John Boyland, interior design associate; Philip Chan, Lawrence Chabra, Kelsi Swank, Christine Kang, interior design assistants
  • Landscape Architects: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Cambridge, Mass.; Michael Van Valkenburgh, Laura Solano, Herb Sweeney, Megumi Aihara
  • Lighting Designer: Fisher Marantz Stone Lighting, New York City
  • Museum Consultant: Lord Cultural Resources, New York City
  • Foodservice Contractor: Culinaire, Dallas; David S. Wood, senior vice president, sales and marketing
  • General Manager for Café and Catering: Brian Allen
  • Executive Chef: John Maas
  • Chef du Cuisine: Erica Nicholl
  • Café 43 Manager: Patrick Briody
  • Director of Catering: Leslie Cravens
  • Foodservice Consultants: Cini•Little International, Germantown, Md.; Theodore E. Farrand, FMP, president and COO, and project executive and project manager for programming; and Pamela Eaton, FCSI, LEED AP, senior associate and project manager for construction administration
  • Equipment Dealer: TriMark Strategic Equipment and Supply Corporation, Irving, Texas; Martin Monnat, president and CEO; Ryan Williamson multiunit sales, Coppell, Texas

About the Players

David Wood, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Culinaire

David Wood oversees all of the company's sales, marketing, business development and public relations activities. He brings an innovative approach to the sales process and contributes boundless creativity to Culinaire's materials and projects. Wood's entire career has been in hospitality sales and marketing, first with Omni Hotels and for the past 16 years with Culinaire.

John Maas, Executive Chef, Culinaire

An accomplished chef with a strong combination of culinary experience and management skills, Maas created an organic, seasonal, sustainable menu for Café 43, offering recipes made entirely in house. Having lived in Texas since he was six months old, Maas brings a deep appreciation for local ingredients and cuisine. Prior to joining Café 43, Maas was executive chef for Hackberry Creek Country Club in Irving, Texas, as well as CHG Cityplace/Cityplace Conference Center/Cityplace Events and Tower Club, both in Dallas. He has also served as executive chef and partner at Fleming's Prime Steak and Wine Bar. Maas received his certification in culinary apprenticeship and foodservice management from El Centro College/Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Theodore E. Farrand, FMP, FCSI, President and COO, Cini•Little International Inc.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University's Hotel and Restaurant Management School, Farrand managed restaurants for Stouffer Restaurants and Magic Pan for more than 11 years. In 1981, he joined Cini•Little (then Cini-Grissom) as a consultant. Farrand has extensive experience in conducting operator selection projects, contract development and negotiation, and fine-tuning the partnerships between clients and contractors. He is an active member of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM), is a senior associate member of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) and serves on the board of directors of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society (PSHRS).

Pamela Eaton, FCSI, LEED AP, Senior Associate and Project Manager, Cini•Little International Inc.

Pam Eaton is known for her understanding of not only the opportunities and challenges of foodservice design projects, but also how commercial foodservice facilities impact the environment. Designated a LEED Accredited Professional by the United States Green Building Council, Eaton has worked on numerous projects that have achieved the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of
green buildings.

Prior to joining Cini•Little in 1996, Eaton gained experience in hospitality and foodservice management for 10 years through employment in the hotel and restaurant industry with varied responsibilities such as restaurant management, sales, bookkeeping and front desk management. She earned a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell University. She is a professional member of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) and serves on FCSI's ICON Committee.