This month, Grand River Hospital, in Kitchener, Ontario, shuts down its cafeteria, which will be replaced by a Subway and a larger Tim Hortons and celeb chefs highlight USC culinary training.
> Hospital shutters retail program
Grand River Hospital, in Kitchener, Ontario, is shutting down its cafeteria, which will be replaced by a Subway and a larger Tim Hortons run by the hospital’s volunteer association. The move was made following the results of a survey, which found that hospital employees wanted foodservice locations that offered longer hours and multiple payment options. The café, run by Aramark, was open only until 6 p.m. and accepted only cash, according to CTV News. The Subway and Tim Hortons accept cash and will be open past 6 p.m.
> Celeb chefs highlight USC culinary training
Chefs and cooks working for Hospitality Services at the University of Southern California went through a new training program this past summer, and Eric Ernest, executive chef for Hospitality Services, believes the pre-academic year training has re-energized his kitchen staff.
“Chefs always enjoy training, and one of the big compliments we got this year was that everything we gave them had value,” Ernest says of the experience.
The training, dubbed The Culinary Forum, was held at the Davidson Conference Center during several days and involved staff from all 38 foodservice venues across two USC campuses. The goal was threefold, according to Ernest: “Reinforce what they already know, provide new information and, the most important part, make sure everyone is on the same page.
“The training program was something I inherited and I wanted to update it,” he explains. “With all the new technology and multimedia out there, I wanted to introduce a new style of training.”
Ernest’s approach was to take the traditional—lecture followed by practical application—and set it on its ear. Lecturers were given much more freedom to augment their PowerPoint presentations with other media, to do more demos and even to involve volunteers from the class. The practical applications were more of a group effort and allowed for much commingling among staff from all the units.
Even something as simple as knife skills was given a new approach, Ernest notes: “Defining the knife cuts but, more important, the importance of the cuts. At the same time we stressed time management; the basics are there, but it’s more about the time and the structure to get things done, about having the time to get the job done without rushing. It’s not about teaching A, then B then C but about knowing the best way to get from A to Z.”
The guest chefs, he adds, were another new wrinkle to the training. Jesse Moreno, executive chef at the Mansion in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas; Rahm Fama, chef and author from La Mirada, Calif.; Bryce Benes, chef at Orange Coast College, in Costa Mesa, Calif.; and Anthony Cecala, corporate chef for US Foods, in Reno, Nev., were brought in as motivational speakers. They were given 45 minutes to share their stories in an attempt “to see what different positions there are in the world. I wanted to give our staff something to aspire to, to be motivated and want to do more with their jobs.”