Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weeks4-7 at PSU (Plymouth State University)

I know it has been a while since my first blog, but I thought I could sum up the last month in just one blog post.
The beginning of week 4 was mostly work for me. The shifts here are not set and you could work as early as 6 am to as late as 10-11pm, if there is a function, any day of the week. I am used to having varied hours, so that was not a huge problem for me. I got to work with the Registered Dietitian, Sara, but we were not always scheduled to work together and there were times I would go 3-4 days without seeing her, but the time we have spent together has been beneficial. I learned that the students here could appeal the mandatory meal plan (for freshman and sophomores) if they had a good enough reason and that Sara would be the person to talk with them and help them with the process.
Heather, Sara and I visited Rockywold-Deephaven camp (another Sodexo account 20 minutes from campus) where their food was well presented, fresh and delicious. The sweet potato fries were delicious and the fruit tart for desert was too! Lynn (a dining room manager for PSU during the school year) was not there so, we will have to go back when she is working.
Heather and I at Rockywold-Deephaven
Heather and I started making plans for the menu we wanted to create for the Healthy Workplace Presentation that Sara was doing for the Chamber of Commerce as a part of their Brown Bag Series. Hue (production manager) talked to us for a few hours and showed us around the kitchen and the equipment. He talked about and showed us the ordering on the Sodexho net FSM program. He also simulated giving us a hard time about making changes to a menu, because he said that is how it would go if you made changes to a standardized recipe. I think his point was that there were steps you had to take if you wanted to make changes.
 The middle of week 4 I got to talk to Steve of Union Grille about Vending operations and Ann-Marie about her job with finances. There was also a managers meeting that discussed the details of Summer Fest.
In talking with Ann Marie about her job, I got to see her large work load. Having deadlines that are the same every week (Monday and Friday) is an interesting concept for me. It would test your time management skills and your ability to balance your work load. Having deadlines would keep me on track and I know how well I am keeping pace .I got to see how everything is connected monetarily. I also thought it was cool that everything is standardized so someone new coming in can look to the company for help. With Ann-Marie being new, it has been helpful to her. There is a feature that IT can use to take over your computer and help you with your software.  The use of excel, is something I know I will need to sharpen my skills in. I have not used Excel as much as I should have to make it useful for me in the business world.
Heather and I created talking points for the healthy lunch presentation. We are touching on the balanced plate meal and the benefits of why we choose it. I also finished the Gluten free brochure, which highlights the gluten free options, has in the dining hall. I am working on more topics for the online blog post as well as finishing up the healthy workplace brochure.
From Left to Right: Sara, Nishant Chaudhary,Jalisa ,Heather
Visiting the Mountain View Grand Hotel on 7/13/ was a great experience for me. Having the Food and Beverage director, Nishant Chaudhary as our host and personally show us around, made me feel like he was very involved at his facility. Seeing how seriously they take their sustainability commitments is impressive. They have a wind turbine, vegetable and herb farm, water tower and other green initiatives that the MVG has in place, is reassuring that larger resorts could modify their systems to be more environmentally friendly. They were very professional at the MVG. Even though they are a four diamond hotel and dining, I feel it would not be hard to implement some of the standards at different levels of food service. They are committed to making sure guest leave happy and most of the clientele are repeat customers.  I also liked how the F&B director viewed the use of the term “problems”. He does not view setbacks as a “problem”; he prefers to look at any difficult situation as a challenge that just needs creativity to get to a solution.  The food was AMAZING and the farm animals were cute! I got to almost nose a lama! It was pretty neat! I would love to go back and visit the Mountain View Grand. If you are into sustainability, nice resorts ,animals and good food ,try and book the MVG for one of your field trips .
Sara and I trying to nose Whiskey the friendly Llama
Week 5
Week 5 started out rough due to a meeting about the expectation we had about the program. I learned that I need to ask more questions and speak up when things do not seem to be going as planned. I will certainly do A TON more research on the school and companies I plan on working for in the future to try and get a good feel for the establishment before I arrive.
For the Healthy Workplace presentation ,I made the chicken for the chicken shawarma plate. Heather made the fruit salad and roasted vegetables. One of the employees really like our chicken and tahini and hummus on the whole wheat pita. This meal is considered as a balanced meal from Sodexo . This includes a certain amount of fiber and calories and protein. A balanced meal is featured in the dining hall every day so the students can make better meal choices.
Our meal ,The Chicken Shawarma Plate, offers two types of protein: Chicken and chickpeas in the hummus (which is fat free). The 28g of protein offer 44% of your daily recommended protein intake ( if you weigh 175 lbs).The whole meal is only 500 Calories and is full of nutrients and vitamins. We used whole wheat pita and whole wheat pasta which means there’s at least 8g of fiber in the meal. The fruit salad is a light dessert that can easily go with any meal.
Heather and I with our finished product
We got a few compliments on the food from the guest and they were particularly excited about the reusable lunch bags we provided for them They were interested in the presentation and took notes. we had a bigger turn out than expected. 19 registered and 23 came. Sara also had some interactive pieces to her presentation with prize giveaways.
 After the presentation we ate lunch with the regional Dietitian, Danielle, who talked with Sara about her ideas for starting a healthy workplace initiative for Sodexo and to get the other dietitians involved and doing more with dietetics at their respective sites. It sounds like they were being used for marketing purposes more than consultants.
I also finished another Blog today ,entitled Work out in your Dorm room . It is about workouts you could do with little to no equipment ,or things you can find in your dorm room. I thought that would be helpful for college students to know and for the freshman and sophomores that are required to live on campus.
 7 /19 Summer  Fest was today! I had fun on the microphone announcing the games and cheering on the cupcake eaters! The guy from res-life, Isaac did a great job on the old man of the mountain Ice sculpture! He was into it and it looked great!
So A LOT of food was thrown out. There were speed racks full of sandwiches and a WHOLE cart full of fruit. I think we could have pushed harder for people to take food with them! We should have given out reusable bags for them to carry items in and to distract them from the fact that we used all plastic containers that were not sustainable at all! Over all it was a good day. Heather and I were in charge of managing the clean-up, while everyone else left. The tents ended up in the wrong place and had to be moved. That was not a huge issue, but it could have saved a bit of time.
As for the waste of food, I understand that extra should be made in case they are needed. The excessive amount that was left over could have fed a whole other picnic. Last night we ran out of turkey breast for dinner, there was simply not enough made, but today there was SO much that was thrown away. I do not understand how this happens.
Sara gave me my evaluation today as well. I can be more assertive and she thinks I am headed in the right direction to be a manager because I am personable and have good listening skills.
Sara conducted a nutrition counseling session today with a student. The student did not want us to sit in on the session so, we just got the handouts Sara uses for her initial meetings with clients .She goes to the My Plate website and enters in the patients information and shows them the recommendations on what their goals are. I also learned 2 conversions that you can use to have a better understanding of how much sugar and protein you are consuming. Divide g of sugar by 4 to find out how many teaspoons of sugar is in a food item and divide the number of g of protein by 7 to find out how many ounces are in a food item.

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