Tag Archives: food service

Theme Meal Success!

Well….my food service rotation is complete. Our theme meal went off without a hitch! I am so proud of all of our hard work with planning, marketing, cooking, and serving. Our meal, “Symphony at the Potomac”, was a hit at Riderwood Village! Regarding financials, we ended with a positive balance, meaning we didn’t lose any money in the process. Whew!

This process has taught me so much about not only food service practices, but managerial skills, time management in the kitchen, food safety, and cooking skills.  I really liked some of the dishes and plan on making them for my husband sometime!

A special thank you goes to all the employees and residents of Riderwood Village, especially the kitchen and managerial staff at Potomac Cafe where we held our meal. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Check out some photos of the event:

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Last Rotation– Riderwood!

riderwood villageI am currently in my final rotation (besides one elective week before graduation) at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, MD.  My partner and I are learning all things food service at this non-profit retirement home for six weeks total.  Here is a list of some things we’ve done so far (only some- we’ve done so much in only 2.5 weeks):

  • Learned about staffing, scheduling, and job descriptions
  • Assisted with food prep (chopping vegetables, cooking, etc)
  • Performed SWOT analyses
  • Observed the process of making pureed foods
  • Met with the dining services human resource director, financial director, and executive chefs to discuss their roles
  • Interacted with the residents of independent living and assisted living communities

The main thing we’ve been doing, however, is planning out our theme meal.  The Riderwood Residents apparently always look forward to the UMD Dietetic Intern-run theme meals that run throughout most of the year, as each pair goes through.  Each pair picks a theme to base a luncheon on, and we are responsible for marketing, decorations, menu formulation, budgeting, preparing, and serving the meal.

Our theme meal is on Friday June 10th, and our theme is famous classical composers.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…how could that ever work?  What does that have to do with food?  And as we were brainstorming random theme ideas on the first day, neither Ala nor I thought the classical music theme would actually be the one that we did.  However, the executive chef indicated that it might be a good one to work with, so we went for it.

Riderwood theme meal entitled Symphony at the Potomac

It’s actually coming along really well.  We chose certain composers and looked at the region they were from.  Our composers are from Russia, Germany, Italy, Poland, France, and Austria, so we have menu selections from those areas of Europe.  I happen to be a classically trained pianist which has come in handy!  Part of our marketing strategy is playing one of the many pianos featured across Riderwood and telling the residents who come to listen all about our theme meal.  They seem very interested!  Our meal will be featured in a dining room known as the Potomac Cafe, so named our event Symphony at the Potomac.

I’ll keep you updated as our progress continues!

What’s Cookin?

My Dining Services rotation is complete! I learned so much about food service, food safety, management, and employee wellness. The staff was all so nice and friendly, and it was great to be back on campus. I have a whole new appreciation for my years or relying on the University of Maryland Dining Halls!

For our final presentation, we outlined all the different projects we worked on, such as maintaining the employee Wellness Wall with healthy tips and recipes, writing articles and tips for the dining.umd.edu website, teaching employees about hazardous chemicals, administering a survey to students, and more. We also cooked up a delicious meal comprised of steak braised with tomato and onion, orzo, and peanut butter cookies.

Here are some photos from my experience with my partner Ala:

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Back on Campus: Spring into Wellness!

I am currently rotating through the University of Maryland College Park Dining Services- mostly at the South Campus Dining Hall.  It’s the place where I ate every day my sophomore and junior year of college, so it’s a little strange to be on the other side of things!  My partner and I are learning about food service and employee wellness.  We’ve spoken to many UMD Dining employees about what they do, and how their job duties play into the bigger picture.  This includes budgeting, employee training and scheduling, management, food safety, and more.

Wellness Wall

Our Wellness Wall, Week #1. "Spring into Wellness"

I have to say, the UMD Dining website is pretty amazing.  Not only does it have nutritional analysis of all the foods it serves, it also has nutrition articles and tips!  Contributing content for the website is one of our duties as interns, as well as maintaining the employee “Wellness Wall” that contains healthy tips in English and Spanish.

It’s nice to be back on campus just as the weather is warming up.  I find myself running into some of my friends that are still on campus; they are slightly confused as to why they see me running around the dining hall after I graduated last spring!  We have one more week left in which we will do a final presentation including cooking up a meal.  Ours includes steak, orzo, peppers, and peanut butter cup cookies!

Certifiably Safe in the Kitchen

Took my ServSafe exam today- it’s a 90 question computerized test all about food safety. It covers foodborne illness, ideal cooking temperatures, types of hazards to foodservice, the flow of food all the way from the farm to being in front of the person eating it, and other areas. Passing is 75%, I received a 96% 🙂 Another thing to put on the resume!

Tomorrow I start on my FSNE rotation. First up is going to Broadneck High School (Anne Arundel County) to talk to volunteers about providing nutrition education (a unique kind of class where we will be teaching the teachers) and then to Montgomery County to teach a 3rd grade class about “Growing Healthy Habits”. The 3rd graders will be fun for sure, but I am really excited to visit Broadneck because I actually went to high school there! Yeah Bruins class of 2006!!

Well-Fed, Well-Rested, Back to Work

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I had a lot to be thankful for, and I was able to celebrate it with a lot of family and friends. I always vow to not act like a dietitian on Thanksgiving- I am in overall good health so one day of eating a lot of not-so-ideal-foods (avoiding the painful overstuffing, that is) will not do TOO much damage! I was even able to celebrate it with my significant other’s family, so I got a different perspective on the holiday meal.

Grilled Turkey

The Grilled Turkey End Result! Yum

For example, my dad always grills our turkey outside on his Weber. This year,
however, I ate an oven-roasted turkey (stuffed with fruit) that was done excellently! (The year before, they had buried the turkey in a pit in the backyard and smoked it…apparently turned out pretty good though?)  My sister sent me a pretty awesome picture of the BBQ turkey, and let me assure you that the leftovers are delicious! What other ways do you prepare a turkey besides grilling, baking, or burying?

Now, it’s Sunday, and I’ve been on break from my dietetic internship since last Wednesday. It’s been nice to get a breather but I am excited for my next rotation with the Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program, where I go around the state of Maryland to help give nutrition educations. Tomorrow, however, is a class day. We are going to Riderwood Village to a computer lab to take a food safety exam to become ServSafe certified! Better go study!

Not Your Average Internship

Match for Internship

The Greatest Relief EVER!

For those of you not in the field of nutrition, you may be wondering why I am blogging about a silly little internship.  So I can share stories of getting coffee for the boss? Doing menial tasks to assist the real workers? Silently suffering at the bottom of the ladder in the hope of one day being hired?

While I’m sure that would be a thrilling blog to read, this is NOT that kind of internship.  Instead, I like to think of it as nursing school, but for dietitians.  A college degree is required, and completion of an internship is necessary to obtain the coveted “RD” (Registered Dietitian) credentials behind my name so I can get a job.  It’s sort of a graduate program that you pay for, but you don’t earn graduate credit.  Basically, I am in career limbo.

My dietetic internship has a ton of different rotations and sites that I will be blogging about.  For example, I’ll be working at a local hospital for my clinical rotation, Riderwood Village and UMD Dining Services for my foodservice rotations, Food & Friends and School Lunch for my community rotations, and IFIC (International Food Information Center) and CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion) for my information technology rotations.  My internship director explained this process as “A 10.5 month job interview.” All the rotations will definitely help me pinpoint where I would like to go in my career, and who knows, maybe a job will come out of it as well!

Getting here wasn’t necessarily simple.  For each internship I applied to, I had to write a slightly different essay, fill out lengthy forms, and solicit three letters of recommendation from my work supervisors and professors.  The various internships I applied to had different requirements and different due dates; this caused me many afternoons of stressing out at the post office, triple-checking to make sure I had everything in order for an overnight, traceable delivery (I couldn’t risk my applications getting lost in the mail!)

After that, there was a long period of waiting: first for an invitation for an interview, and eventually for match day.  Match day was the day that we found out 1) If we got an internship 2) which one we got.  No, we weren’t offered admission from different programs and then got to choose; instead, we had to rank the internships, they ranked us, and we were matched by a computer system.  Sound stressful? It was.  Of course, the <50% acceptance rate to dietetic internships didn’t help with the anxiety.

Fortunately, on that fateful day, I was matched to the UMD internship, and here I am!  I loved the variety of rotations within the program and its focus on nutrition communications and information technology.  I could not be more excited to get started!  First up: clinical rotations!