7 weeks! Only 7 weeks remaining in Internship! Can you tell I’m a little excited? 😀 Okay, let’s get this update started.
It seems like it has been forever and a day since my last Insight Into Internship post. Aside from not updating you on Research Week (data collection and data entry does not make for an intriguing blog post), I just had another long placement – the last 4 weeks of Food Service. Yes, I have finally completed my required 10 weeks of Food Service. It has been a long time coming, seeing as we started out in Food Service waaaay back in September, then had another stint in February. If you need a refresher on what Food Service entails, that original post will give you some good insight. Although, I have realized that our Food Service placement really does train us for more than running a hospital kitchen – we learn a lot of admin skills that could be transferred to a variety of leadership roles later in our careers. But I digress, let’s get down to what I actually did those 4 weeks.
The majority of time was spent organizing our major project – a special lunch event in the retail cafeteria at the hospital. We had to decide upon a theme, develop the menu, order food, cost the recipes, liaise with the retail manager and cook, make sure the event ran smoothly, and get feedback from the customers. Easy, right? Actually, it wasn’t that bad. We had great people to work with the cafeteria, I thought our event really well, and we had great feedback from the customers. We sold out of almost everything, so that must be a good sign, right?
Our event was Earth Day themed, since it was the only holiday to fall during that time. We decided to focus our menu on local seasonal products, as we wanted to just feature one way of doing something for the planet – we could have easily gone all organic, or vegetarian, or something else. We used this handy seasonal chart from Get Local BC to help us design our menu. Our tasty offerings were as follows:
Thyme roasted chicken with herb roasted potatoes and spring mix salad
Asparagus quiche with spring mix salad
We also offered free apples to customers who filled out our comment cards. Healthy and seasonal!
Ignore the mixed vegetables in the front – we had to have an “alternate” vegetable, which the kitchen chose. We wouldn’t have had it out there if we had a choice.
We also had decorations for the seating area, including recycled San Pellegrino bottles with tulips and the local seasonal chart, and little cards with Earth Day tips.
It turned out to be a lot of fun. In hindsight, I kind of wish we had been a bit more creative in our menu offering, but it was also nice to do something simple that we knew people would enjoy. I would say to any future interns – don’t let yourself get stuck in celebrating a holiday. If you pick a random day, you can do any theme you want!
Of course, this wasn’t the only thing I did while in Food Service. I also got to attend a variety of meetings with my preceptors and the various people involved in the food service contracts, have plenty of discussions about things like budgeting, staffing, and other admin duties, and I did some meal tray audits. This involved ordering some sample trays, and checking them for accuracy, taste, temperature, appearance, etc. I even tried out a puréed meal – can you guess what it is?
The top blob would be puréed grilled cheese, while the bottom blob is puréed mixed vegetables. Mmmm. I will say, the grilled cheese actually tasted good, although the texture wasn’t the greatest. And I did enjoy the chocolate ice cream for dessert 🙂
All in all, Food Service was not as bad as I thought it might be. I know, I’m as shocked as you. I don’t know that I would ever want that role in a hospital setting, but I do value many of the skills we learned, and think that if it were in a more retail setting (say on a university campus?), it would actually be a fun job. I like that it’s about food, because really, that’s the whole reason I got into dietetics in the first place.
Now I shall leave you with a hint as to where I’ve gone for my next placement…it involved a ride on a boat.
Can you guess where I am now?