Little things matter

I found that one question could not be answered at the Food Service Management Educators Council at the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking before the biennial meeting of the Food Service Management Educators Council at the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi. The members are faculty of universities around the country with Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management programs.

My topic was “Educating the Millennials,” and took a big-picture approach to some of the trends that are having a major impact on non-commercial foodservice. They included sustainability, health and wellness, social media and “culinary geography,” the increasing influence of global cuisines on menus.

The morning after I spoke, one of the presenters was Cyndie Story, PhD, R.D., a chef, dietitian, one-time school foodservice director and current menu consultant. Her topic was “Teaching Culinary Techniques,” and the one-hour presentation might have come across as extremely basic, particularly if you were a chef—or even a foodservice director. She talked about calibrating thermometers, cutting cantaloupe properly, knife sharpening skills, food safety and even the right way to cut an orange into wedges. But Story had an overriding message for the women and men in that lecture hall, and that was this: Little things matter.

“You are teaching our future foodservice leaders, our future trainers,” said Story. “You are not teaching your students to be on the Food Network. You are teaching them basic foodservice skills, and you should be teaching beyond what the textbook says.”

She pointed out to the group that young college graduates, stepping into management roles, often have to instruct kitchen staffs with many more years of experience, and they need to have the credibility to impart wisdom to people “who may have been doing things the same way for 25 years.”

“When your students go out into the world, how many of them are certified in food safety?” she asked. The implication was clear.

Keywords: 
food safety, training

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

FSD Resources