In this day and age our fast-paced society is very demanding, especially when it comes to food preparation and organization. Not to mention the demand for timing and above all, hygiene and sanitation. Olivo Lunch (our on-campus a la carte restaurant) is designed to accommodate the harsh, fast-paced life of students who are not only busy but demanding as well. At Olivo Lunch we accommodate all types of students from diverse cultures and I design my menus around this unique diversity and of course to be compatible with our guests´ demands. We at Olivo Lunch understand that dedication and proper organization, as well as professionalism, are the order of the day.
As in all of our kitchens, the students are inducted into a world of personal hygiene and kitchen sanitation at a professional level. After passing through my class, the students will never forget my ‘clean as you go ‘approach, which is an important concept in reflecting a well-organized and well balanced kitchen environment. As future managers in this bustling hospitality world, we as the chef lecturers have to prepare them for all types of culinary challenges which they will face while they are with us. And what better way to start than by introducing them into a culinary world full of diversity and uncertainty. That is what each of my students experiences with me in my kitchen.
El Olivo Lunch operation starts way before my students arrive, as it is my task to prepare the kitchen each morning, including all the products of the day’s menu. Our menu is comprised of 2 starters, 2 main dishes (usually meat and fish or a vegetarian dish), and 2 desserts. An early hour briefing welcomes the students to their workplace, and all details concerning the day´s operation are relayed by me. The Olivo concept, which I have developed with my students, is that the minute they walk into the kitchen they are treated as managers in all aspects. One strong point, in terms of management, is that every day I appoint a section manager(s) to run the section in all its facets (i.e. leadership, self-assessment, self-motivation, group motivation, hygiene consciousness, time consciousness and most importantly, to execute the task as briefed).
Throughout the morning´s mise en place procedures, emphasis is placed on portion control and creative skills; which I truly enjoy teaching my students. In addition, I always make clear to my students that it’s also very important to understand that guests tend to eat with their eyes before their mouths. This is an important point to remember during their final exams in which every facet of their food knowledge is tested.
As you can now imagine with all these important points to consider as a student chef, where is the time to actually reflect on how well they have grasped the Olivo concept? Well, there isn’t much time and their success is measured by the guest’s satisfaction. So, the moment we start to serve the first course, there is an intense 20 minutes of adrenaline that runs through each of them as they find out how challenging it really is to serve 40 guests in such a short time frame, not to mention maintaining the professional look of each dish.
So for now my dear students, welcome to my world, the Olivo Lunch Kitchen Operation! Enjoy your meals!