Michigan State Dining Reorganizes

Aug. 18—The department of Housing and Food Service at 46,000-student Michigan State University in East Lansing has recently reorganized and rebranded itself as Culinary Services.

Part of a larger reorganization of the Housing and Food Service department—now called Residential and Hospitality Services—the new Culinary Services department will oversee all campus dining functions including residence hall dining, retail dining, concessions, coffee shops, convenience stores, Food Stores and the MSU Bakers, as well as procurement. Bruce Haskell, associate director of residential dining, said the reorganization has been a huge effort beyond Culinary Services.

“In the fall of 2008, we decided to realign the departments within the division so that they made more functional sense,” Haskell said. “Before, residential dining and housing were paired together but auxiliary services and retail were a different department within the division. As a result, for our students, there was no crossover between their meal plan and retail dining. We felt there were some efficiencies to be found by having all the foodservice under one department. We really wanted integrate the dining on campus. We are an all-you-care-to-eat operation, but we felt we could give our guests better options if we could incorporate retail as part of the mix.”

The new division is currently working on rolling out a new production model that is going to focus heavily on the culinary side of things. The model includes putting in place an executive chef, a sous chef and full production line staff, all of which are trained by a corporate chef, a new position added in the reorganization.

“When we opened our new marketplace in 2007, we put in place an executive chef and a sous chef that then trained all the production staff to deliver culinary excellence through display cooking,” Haskell said. “So we’re implementing that model now. We believe strongly that through this production model, this reorganization, we can deliver the students a high quality product more consistently and give them the experience that is off the chart from what they expect.”

 

 

 

 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources