The ubiquitous chef?

It's somewhat of a miracle that chefs seem to be everywhere in non-commercial foodservice.

The June issue of FoodService Director will focus on the increasing role of chefs in non-commercial foodservice. As I began to organize my notes and plan my calls for the feature, I started reflecting on just how far these segments—particularly schools and hospitals—have come in a culinary sense.

When I began covering foodservice 30 years ago, chefs were a rare commodity outside of restaurants and hotels. But for those chefs who were working in colleges or B&I operations, one common theme seemed to emanate from their histories. Most came into non-commercial operations because they were burned out, tired of working 80-hour weeks, weekends and most holidays. They wanted a life outside the business so they could raise a family or at least just feel human.

Most students in culinary schools considered work in a hospital or a nursing home or college to be beneath them, a role reserved for those students who weren't quite "good enough" to make it in a restaurant or resort. And, truth be told, most culinary instructors didn't really talk up the non-restaurant side of the industry.

Things are quite different today. More and more, chefs are entering non-commercial foodservice so they can make a difference. Sure, there's still a lot to be said for working conditions, but chefs are seeing just what is possible in the non-commercial world and they like it. If chefs can teach schoolchildren the wonders and complexities of food beyond burgers, fries and pizza, and can instill in them a profound appreciation for food, they've changed lives for the better. If a chef can make a patient's day when everything else about their hospital stay is going wrong, he or she may help that person heal just a little bit faster.

This is why we're examining the role of the chef in today's foodservice world. And we'd like you to be part of it. I would love to hear your stories of why you chose a career at a college, hospital, school ot other facility over the "glamour" of a restaurant or hotel. I'd appreciate your sharing a tale about some small way you made a difference in your institution. Email me at pking@cspnet.com with your stories.

Keywords: 
chefs

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

Sponsored Content
gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

FSD Resources