Q: How did you beat out Sodexo?
A. Sodexo gave the college 30 days notice, and the college knew I wanted a deli in the school, a Mex-terranean Grill. Mex-terranean means Mexican and Mediterranean food. I wanted to put it in the nook where the culinary program used to be, as a alternative food option. I had 18 days to start serving food, the first day the college opened. It took commitment to get a staff of more than 20 people ready.
Q: Do you prepare your food from scratch?
Yes. We use fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. We don’t make the meats but we go to a company that does not use preservatives and additives. We use Boar’s Head cheese made by local people who do every thing to create it without additives. I know it cost more but in the end I can sleep at night knowing I’ve made the right choices in hiring them.”
Q: What about health and nutrition?
A: The thing is, although burgers and fries are selling like hot cakes. There are more options for the students that the students are not aware of: The taco bar, and the pasta bar. We don’t have the sushi bar up an running is because people have health concerns when it comes to fish.
We want tot make your pasta here, with either red sauce or white sauce. What I’m saying is, we don’t only have to have pasta as a grab and go. Although we have faculty here that are consistent with those options, we want more feedback from the students.
Q: How do you manage food safely?
A: When we cut into our chicken and meats, we have to throw it away within 24 hours. Our chefs are directed to wash their hands between tasks. The chefs are certified by the state. The line cooks are trained and certified in food handling.
Q: How often do your food handlers get re-trained?
A: Their certifications are good for three years. Then, they have go through the training again to get re-certified.
Q: The chicken wasn’t done at the Martin Luther King celebration. What happened?
A: Due to the timing and the amount of people, we thought we could handle It, but we miscalculated. It was 200 people. We were supposed to serve at 8:15. We told people we could start dinner at 7:45. We should have pre-cooked the day before, until almost done that day, then fried it until it was done right before everyone started eating. We wanted the chicken to be hot of and juicy at the exact time for dinner. It just takes a lot of responsibility to do that. We have catered before for groups of 50, but that night after the first batch came out it was too late. Q: Was the rest of the chicken done.
A: Yes. The next batch and the batch after that was done. It was perfect. Just the first batch was not done, and by that time ever yone started to complain. I was really depressed about that. I did not sleep for 3 days. But you got to pull yourself up and keep going,
I apologize for that and I will do my best to not let it happen again.