Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President for Yale Hospitality, provides strategic vision and leadership for the hospitality and dining programs at Yale University. He is charged with ensuring that its dining experiences, food, operations, standards, and vision reflect the world-class reputation of one of the world’s most renowned institutions of higher learning. Yale Hospitality serves more than 15,000 meals per day with a staff of 840 including culinary, service, management and clerical personnel.  Taherian’s organization is comprised of three operational divisions with shared business and administrative support and an annual budget of $54 million.

Since 2008 Taherian has guided the continued development of Yale Hospitality’s well-known sustainability, culinary and nutrition initiatives by merging principals of a healthy plant-based Mediterranean diet with an operational approach that promotes sustainability and regionally-based food systems.  He is a key member of industry councils and advisory boards and continues to promote collaboration among operators, manufacturers, distributors, and growers to address key strategic food system concerns and initiatives.

Taherian’s contributions were acknowledged by his food service industry peers in 2016 when he was awarded IFMA Silver and Gold Plate Awards.  He has received numerous other awards for his vision and leadership in conceptualizing and implementing innovative hospitality programs including Yale University’s Seton Elm-Ivy Award in 2016, NACUFS Horton Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2016 for residential and catering events, FARE’s 2016 Excellence in Leadership, Food Service Director of the Year in 2013 and the Illuminating Excellence and Leadership recognition from Premier in 2014.