The Culinary Support Kitchen
Photographer: Carlos Samano
Apr 10, 2012
The throng of people across Morton Hill waiting to finally swipe their IDs in at Shively Court confirms what everyone already knows: college students like to eat.
But, when it comes to the stereotypical students’ diet, quality meals aren't the first thought that comes to mind.
However, with Ohio University’s Culinary Services’ newly renovated Culinary Support Kitchen (CSK), the University plans to continue their tradition of quality student dining.
“Now, in its completion, the best is yet to come as we begin full production in the new Culinary Support Kitchen, with our customers getting the ultimate taste and treat to what the facility truly has to offer to the campus dining environment,” said Gwyn Scott, associate vice president for auxiliaries.
The CSK can produce a variety of foods such as soup, pasta, vegetable mixes, casseroles, sauces, grilled chicken and multiple smoked meats all on site.
“Ohio University Culinary Services has been greatly committed to the planning, progression and implementation of the new Culinary Support Kitchen and the benefits it brings not only to the department, but to the university,” continued Scott.
One of these benefits is the centralization of production and preparation steps that were previously carried out in various locations, ultimately reducing the amount of energy consumption and waste.
“This enables greater consistency and quality of the product being prepared, as operationally new techniques and equipment are being used to ensure its freshness,” said Brian Thompson, director of auxiliaries.
“It additionally provides opportunities and resources to expand and introduce new menu items and product lines at our Culinary Services’ venues. This includes enhancing the capacity of Culinary Services to use local produce when it is available,” he said.
Another benefit includes the amount of space dining halls gain, with equipment and utilities being housed in the CSK.
“With less investment in the back-of-the-house spaces, greater focus and resources can be spent on ways to finish product out front in view by the customer,” he continued. “This, in turn, enhances the customer’s overall experience and equally showcases the freshness of product being prepared.”
The CSK follows another Ohio University tradition in working and collaborating with the Athens community.
“The implementation of CSK and future phases of work at Central Food will provide benefit to the Athens community by creating additional opportunities for Culinary Services to make use of local crops and resources when available and in season,” Thompson said.
“New CSK equipment and processing techniques enable these items to be easily incorporated into recipes and stored for extended time, while still maintaining product freshness,” he said.
A new phase of renovation has already begun at the facility that includes an upgrade to its vegetable production process and adding a new retail assembly component. Future phases of renovation will entail modifying the full-service campus bakery, warehouse and freezer storage for greater efficiency and operational use.
Along with Ohio University, similar culinary remodels can be found at other top-tier schools, such as Notre Dame, Harvard, Miami University (of Ohio) and Syracuse.
“This overall enhancement and growth strengthens service commitments and Ohio University’s prominence in recruitment and retention,” explained Thompson.
With the opening of a remodeled Shively in 2010 and the current renovations underway at Nelson set to complete for fall opening 2012, the Culinary Support Kitchen is another example of Ohio University’s progressive work in student dining.