With Aramark now gone, Taherian will lead YUDS

After a six-month search, the University announced Friday that Rafi Taherian, currently executive director of Stanford University dining, will become executive director of Yale University Dining Services in March.

Taherian will take the reigns from outgoing executive director Don McQuarrie, whose contract expires at the end of February. McQuarrie — who has served as director for over five years — ran Yale’s dining system while it was still managed by Aramark, a Philadelphia-based food-services conglomerate. The University will end its 9-year relationship with Aramark at the end of February and will complete the transition to operating YUDS in-house.

McQuarrie’s term was has been extended through February under a transitional contract with Aramark pending the installation of a replacement.

Taherian’s experience weighed heavily in the decision to hire him, Associate Vice President for Administrative and Financial Services Ernst Huff said.

“We did a lot of reference checking on him and the references were all superlative,” Huff said.

McQuarrie, who served as the top Aramark executive on Yale’s campus, will presumably move on to another Aramark location, Huff said.

McQuarrie could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The University worked with the Philadelphia search firm Opus Partners to develop a list of 13 candidates for the job. By early October, the number of candidates had fallen to six and, three weeks later, only three remained in the field. The three candidates visited New Haven in November to speak with students, faculty and staff.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Taherian joined Stanford’s staff in 1996 as a senior chef manager. After a five-year stint as associate director of residential dining, Taherian became Stanford’s dining director on an acting basis and formally took over in 2004.

Taherian did not return calls for comment Tuesday.


  • Anonymous

    Who brought Aramark into Yale ?
    Oh they came in with Mr.Levin, then they're Kosher specialist cooks…
    And who is responsible for telling John D. just how wonderful they are and how they're cuisine will be a big hit in the New Haven School system
    ..missing piece is :did their campaign contribution to Dest.come first and then a contract was signed or the Gift to his camp. came after so as to retain themselves

  • Anonymous

    blubblubblub… Maybe Desteffano tasted the great lean cuisine that has nourished and fueled the greatest minds in the land
    then signed them on to supply NH kids.
    Of course if you don't like the food here THERE are plenty of restaurants in the vicinity..Nothing like slop to bring the Town and gown to its knees ,crying,
    Hey if its good enough for the Roaches gigante