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At Fordham, Voting Is a Matter of Taste (Buds, That Is)


Fordham alumna Kate Cavanagh (FCLC ’05) wasn’t messing around.

From the second she sunk her teeth into the Busono Biscotti ala Fordham, the 25 year old chewed slowly and seemed to take in every morsel. Like the scores of students, staff and faculty around her, Cavanagh was searching for the Fordham Signature Dessert.

Fordham alumna Kate Cavanagh (FCLC ’05), right, samples desserts in the contest for the Fordham Signature Dessert. Photo by Ken Levinson

“I really love biscotti, so I’ll admit I’m a bit partial to it, but this Ram Cake is delicious,” said Cavanagh, who works in the community service office on the Lincoln Center campus. “Then again, the Red Velvet Cake is delicious, too. I’m taking this very seriously because it’s a dessert representing Fordham, and it’s going to be around a very long time!”

Cavanagh and fellow alumna Alyson Weaver (FCRH ’05) were among the hundreds who turned out to sample five desserts vying to become the University’s official dessert.

Voting took place on Oct. 17 on the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. The winner will be announced at the President’s Ball on Friday, Oct. 24.

The five finalists in the contest were recipes for:

Buono Biscotti ala Fordham, made by Rosemary Marmorato, a senior secretary in the Department of Psychology on the Rose Hill campus. Marmorato has been working at Fordham for four years.

Marooned Cookies, made by Barbara Kittle (FCRH ’78). Kittle honored her grandmother by entering her original recipe into the contest.

bRAMies Brownies, made by Alessandra Vaccaro, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center senior majoring in classical languages. Vaccaro said her recipe was inspired by Fordham’s school colors.

Ram Cake
, made by Theresa Stewart Moran (GSS ’08), a doctoral student in Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service. The recipe was a family effort, although she credits her eight-year-old son, Kevin, for devising the concept.

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Frosting, made by Fordham College at Lincoln Center senior Rick Manista. Manista, a psychology major, adapted his grandmother’s recipe for the dessert, though he said the frosting was his idea.

First-year Fordham Law School student Keith Greenberg, 22, picked his favorite after devouring samples of all five desserts, which he somehow balanced in one hand while holding a stack of thick legal books in the other.

“The Red Velvet cake, by far, was executed in the best fashion,” Greenberg said. “One of the others had not enough flour for my taste. Perhaps there was too much air that hit another when it came out of the oven.”

The contest and sampling event was made by possible by Fordham Hospitality Services/Sodexho.

Brian Poteat, general manager, said the idea for a signature dessert came to him from Dorothy Marinucci, executive assistant to Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. Poteat then consulted with Michael DeMartino, executive chef at the Rose Hill campus, to make the idea a reality.

“We all agreed that this dessert would have to be one that did not require a fork to eat it, and that it would have to be something that could be produced in large quantities without putting too much strain on our everyday operations,” Poteat said.

“Most importantly, we felt that we needed to involve the student body in some way,” he continued. After consulting with Marinucci and Catherine Spencer, assistant vice president for marketing and communications, they decided to run a contest asking for original recipe submissions from students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni.

Poteat and his staff received 31 entries, which “truly exceeded our expectations,” he said.

A panel of 15 students, staff and Sodexho chefs John D’Ingillo and Michael Martino, narrowed the entries to five finalists. D’Ingillo and Martino worked all week to churn out more than 1,500 samples for the Oct. 17 tasting and voting event.

“All the recipes we received were quite wonderful and picking the five finalists was extremely difficult,” Poteat said. “It was exciting to read the recipes as they were received. I must commend all of the participants for their culinary passion.”


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