Hi, everyone! My name is Jocelyn Bustamante, and I am a Sodexo dietetic intern in the distance cohort, living in Los Angeles, CA. I just began my clinical rotation at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center this last week, and I’m extremely excited for all the new things that I am going to learn!
I finished my food service management rotation at Main St. Café, which is located inside of RAND corporation, a non-profit organization that provides research and analysis services. The café is slightly different than other Sodexo accounts in that it is part of Sodexo’s Local Artisan Restaurant Collection. It offers a more “restaurant-feel” to the client and aims to provide fresher, healthier options in their everyday menu. The café is also responsible for all of RAND’s catering events. How hectic the kitchen got was often dependent on the size of these catering events. As a manager, you have to be willing to help out wherever and whenever possible!
I learned so much from my food service rotation like budgeting, inventory, placing and receiving food orders, and even some cooking tips from the executive chef! One of the highlights during this rotation was my retail marketing and wellness project. I decided to market something almost everyone loves – baked goods! I modified them so that healthier ingredients were incorporated and informed employees on the benefits of these “superfood” ingredients. The biggest hit was the “Freekeh Kookeh,” which was a dark-chocolate dipped freekeh and coconut cookie. Employees actually loved it so much they wanted it to be featured in the café regularly!
I also completed my wellness concentration at RAND and partnered with RAND’s Healthy Living Local Santa Monica initiative. With them, I was able to determine nutrition and wellness topics that would be of interest to the employees at RAND and held “Wellness Wednesdays” events to promote these topics. A major one we were able to conduct was a “Farmers Market Walk,” where we invited employees to walk to the local Farmers Market during lunch. This was a great way to get employees to leave their desks, exercise, socialize, and meet vendors that were providing some of the produce offered in the café. I also performed food demos (showcasing Sodexo Mindful recipes), had infotables where I could educate employees, and provided education pamphlets with take-home recipes.
All in all, I’ve had a great experience so far! For anyone about to start the internship, know that communication and teamwork are crucial in food service. Everyone who works in the kitchen plays an important role and team effort is necessary for success. Remember to have fun, be creative, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!