With many new team members joining Culinary Services (CS) in recent years, CS leadership recognized an opportunity to provide essential training. From May 8-19, more than 60 assistant dining managers, sous chefs, human resources coordinators and other team members went through a comprehensive training program to not only benefit them in their current roles, but prepare them for future opportunities and career growth.
During the first week, participants received culinary training with Chef Mark Spelman, who has worked in the industry for more than 35 years. These practical kitchen skills were put to the test when they collaborated to cook and prepare meals. Guest instructors from within the division, across the university and other states were brought in to present classroom sessions as well, sharing knowledge on effective feedback, motivating student team members, emergency preparedness, critical thinking and much more.
Additionally, participants were divided into small work groups to provide innovative solutions to real operational issues within the department. These small work groups pitched their ideas to CS leadership, similar to the style of the television show “Shark Tank.” A winning group and idea were selected on the final day.
“I cannot think of a single presentation that did not allow me to gain knowledge that will make me a better manager,” shared Cheryl Silvers, assistant dining services manager at Riverwalk Market at Owen. “If I had to choose one that was the most effective, it would be the culinary training in Holmes, cooking alongside all of the managers and chefs. Although I thought that our visiting chef was very engaging, I learned so much more by working with our own fabulous chefs.”
Additional feedback will be collected and considered for future sessions.