Kitchen Cabinet Meeting Minutes December 2021

Posted on February 8th, 2022 by

Kitchen Cabinet
December 14th, 2021
Lisa Heldke, Steve Kjellgren, Jeri Miller, Jen Donkin, Kevin Birr, Molly Yunkers, Chuck Niederriter, Tim Born, Karen Yess, Danielle Burger, Kari Wallin, Jennifer Warren, Maria Jennissen, Amelia
Introductions – 2 new students – Amelia, 2nd year student and Maria Jennissen, a senior and also a PA
Chef Tim Born
-Alumni event – How to make a Charcuterie board on zoom tonight, 2 Christmas parties next week
– Staffing – at < 50% in the kitchen, have 3 of 8 cooks
– Special event 2 weeks ago at rotisserie – pasta bar, went over well, Served about 300 students/staff
– Supply chain challenges – prices have gone up greatly, normal is 2-3% increase, some items have increased 10-20%, with no end in sight. Forecast for 2022 is 3-4% increase but likely will be low double digits. Shari has been able to keep stock on hand with finding alternates

Student senate meeting – Steve Kjellgren
– Prices a concern for students claiming they are “sky high”. Compared prices and helped give perspective. Opportunity for us to be part of the educational mission of the college.
– Are we back to interacting with the public and doing informational tables? This could be a way to do some education.
o With staffing may not be able to do sampling, but could have a table to discuss food pricing
o Look at different classes and could they use this as a case study looking at the inflation of food costs, young consumers, choices and cost. Use examples of same item and where it costs many places (Patrick’s vs McDonalds, etc)
o Had student complaint that he and roommate who had same food but charged twice as much. Ended up catching him stealing and rationale was prices were so high. Gave an opportunity to learn about stealing and pricing.
o There is still more educating to do with students. Are we at the point to have a community conversation? Put information on tables – cost comparisons to start getting some attention to this – Pasta and breadstick here vs restaurant. Could also compare wages and cost of food now to pre-pandemic to show they are actually paying less. Could also compare that our country has the cheapest food vs cost of education.
Student employment – Kevin Birr
– Currently due to lack of labor the Market place closes at 8:30pm and rotisserie closes early and there have not been any students complaining – students are understanding the situation
– Have 100 students assigned to dining service who have not worked a single hour. They are also working way less in Dining Service than any other department on campus. The current system is students are assigned to areas the first year. 20-25% choose not to work. This year Kevin was given way less students and fewer are working. He has 140 assigned to dining service and 100 are not working. The lack of student workers is greatly impacting Dining service and ability to have longer hours. There is concern this will be worse for spring semester.
o If we could get 70 more students we could expand hours and offerings.
o Student orgs in the past can volunteer to work and their earnings go to their organization dues/fees. This time last year 592 hours were worked and this year only 191 hours.
o Some students are concerned they work too close to each other and have COVID concerns, other factors are – there was government money given out, it is a “low level job” and beneath them and there are other jobs where they can do their homework and not work like in the cafeteria, and the pay is too low.
o Student question – could wages be raised slightly this school year to help get more employees? Students are paid through student employment – if their award is $3000 and wages increase, we will actually need more workers because they won’t be able to work as many hours.
Workshop – identify things we want to accomplish this year
– How do help students think about what things cost
– Focus on price increases and lack of workers
– Do we focus on helping students explore new foods and broaden their palate?
– Sense of fun and learning at the same time, how do we bring something new?
– How do we bring back things that make it exciting and make students want to come back
– Put up signs of comparing to cost at grocery store vs here and how long does it takes to cook it if they were making it on their own
o 40% of cost of food in Market Place is food cost, 40% labor and 20% is keeping the lights on
– How do we promote Dining Service as a great place to work and what they learn – team work, management, life lessons, advancement (move to student leader), etc – and how does that benefit them when they have a real job – this has been shown by the career center as something employers look for
– Is there any incentive program for students to work in Dining Service?
– Adding more specials like the pasta bar – could get more students to eat there and not think about the pricing.
o Once a month activity – Kitchen cabinet help with workforce?
 Could do a chef’s table 1x/month at the rotisserie – team up with the PA’s to promote.
o Try it Tuesday
o Highlight items from big hill farm, how do we promote it to make it profitable? Use more social media? If there is a surplus could we have a stand to sell farm items – may need to get some certifications. Do more tours of the farm.
o Give ideas of new combinations with what items are in the Market Place – “Caf creations”
o Social media – how can we use it more? – Team up with the PA’s, make it fun and interactive.
– All of us can be the educator to help understand the labor shortage, inflation and impact on the food prices.

– Student questions
o Could there be dairy free milk options? – There are small containers that portion can be taken from
 Do better signage
o Cultural dishes – is there anyway the plantain could be fresh rather than the frozen product? The taste and texture would be way better. – Chef Tim will work with Shari to look at options.
o Reminder – is a place to pose questions, comments, etc.


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