People Of SFU: Meet the Food superstars who helped bring the new Dining Commons to life

October 24, 2022

by Lucas Westhaver

Dan Traviss (right) and Simon Tse (left) are a part of the SFU Food team who is dedicated to bringing great culinary experiences to SFU.

After years of planning, designing and construction, the new Dining Commons opened officially for business on September 3rd, 2022. This new state-of-the-art facility includes the addition of 500+ seats, and 10 new dining stations and is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Every aspect of the Dining Commons project was approached thoughtfully with the student experience in mind and highlights locally-sourced goods, from the wood used in the tables to the products that end up on our plates.

However, a project of this magnitude doesn't come together on its own: there are countless individuals whose dedication made the Dining Commons possible. Now, we shine a spotlight on two of the most crucial contributors.

Director of Food: Dan Traviss

Dan Traviss’ passion for food and his expertise in food operations shines through as he oversees the entire food program on campus.As Director of Food, he collaborates with a wide variety of vendors that make up the SFU food scene from small independent operators to larger corporate partners.

Traviss has been a part of the Dining Commons project since the beginning, always bringing the focus back to creating a better food experience for students—from increasing local food sourcing, providing a wide variety of food options, accommodating dietary needs, and implementing sustainability initiatives. He has worked tirelessly to manage the food program throughout the ups and downs of the past few years navigating the pandemic and construction of the new dining facility. We all benefit from Traviss’ dedication to bringing great campus food experiences to SFU.

“Dining Commons will re-invent the campus dining experience for students,” says Traviss. “Food is at the forefront, with many meals prepared in front of the guest with opportunities to select ingredients, sauces and toppings.”

Manager of Dining Facilities Projects: Simon Tse

Every great project needs an organizer, a detail-oriented planner who outlines its specific needs and delivers on those concepts. When it comes to the Dining Commons, that role inarguably belongs to Simon Tse.

During the construction of the Dining Commons, Tse worked around the clock to ensure the highest standard of quality and efficiency—coordinating with the construction team, food operations, and the many vendors involved in the operation of a complex dining area designed to serve over 5000 meals per day. Tse coordinated much of the logistics including equipment, furniture and fixtures during global supply-chain challenges, all without losing focus on the big-picture requirements of the Dining Commons project.

Wherever there was a need for a contingency plan, Tse brought two—his dedication is a crucial and ongoing key to the Dining Commons' success: “It’s been great to see the space transform from a construction site into a lively space where students can enjoy a meal, study, and meet with friends.“