The first rotation of my internship experience was at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA to complete my food service management rotation. I was a little nervous at first, however, after a week of shadowing the executive chef and seeing how she and the campus dietitian work together, I realized that there is so much more to working in the food service industry than simply menu planning. The foodservice staff works so hard to plan fun events for the students and they try to incorporate holidays and seasons into their meal planning so that the students have the best experience possible. I was lucky enough to sit in on several meetings with the operations manager, executive chef, event planning committee and the dietitian to observe how they work together and create amazing events for the college community. I was impressed with their talent for addressing each type of diet and food allergy, and stay within budget! It was a privilege to have been a part of their substantial Halloween event and see all of the food that was “fall” or “Hallowe’en”-themed, including a life size “coffin” cake that was made by the campus bakery! It was a fun event for me to help set up and run because of the creativity and energy of the foodservice staff, and also to see the reaction of the café customers, student and staff alike!
Another part of the food service rotation I enjoyed was being able to host my own event. I chose to present a Kale action station during lunch on National Kale Day; the students were much more interested in kale than I had expected which made for an interactive station. I made samples of kale chips and made a quinoa and kale sauté for the event. The samples were completely gone by the end of lunch.
The message I took away from my food service rotation was that a successful foodservice operation embraces fun, creativity and education, while providing a healthy meal options that cater to all types of dietary lifestyles and food allergies.