25

Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Partly Cloudy, 77 °F

compassLogo
OHIO Culinary Services Cook Kathy Andrews slices locally sourced apples with a specialized slicing machine.

OHIO Culinary Services Cook Kathy Andrews slices locally sourced apples with a specialized slicing machine.

Photographer: Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University

Baker Kevin Stickel fashions cookie dough into candy canes prior to placing them in the oven. Culinary Services ship approximately 1,000 dozen baked good items every day.

Baker Kevin Stickel fashions cookie dough into candy canes prior to placing them in the oven. Culinary Services ship approximately 1,000 dozen baked good items every day.

Photographer: Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University

Cook Ginger Good slices provolone cheese with the help of a cheese slicer. The Central Food Facility prepares 700 pounds of deli meat and cheese each day.

Cook Ginger Good slices provolone cheese with the help of a cheese slicer. The Central Food Facility prepares 700 pounds of deli meat and cheese each day.

Photographer: Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University

Featured Stories


OHIO Culinary Services prepares high-quality food for the masses

Numerous items sourced from Ohio farms

This special Compass series highlights the ways in which Ohio University staff and faculty are living their passion while making a difference – on campus, in the community, in their fields, and around the world.This special Compass series highlights the ways in which Ohio University staff and faculty are living their passion while making a difference – on campus, in the community, in their fields, and around the world.


Though Mary Jones is the associate director of Ohio University Culinary Services and responsible for the activities that take place within the Central Food Facility, she credits the success of the large operation to its managers and employees, who make a difference within the University community every day.

“There are a lot of moving parts here, and each person has a job to do,” she said.

With a multitude of hard-working employees covering three work shifts, the CFF team cooks and delivers all the meals for the Athens and regional campuses, in addition to Ohio University Catering Services.

The amount of food includes, but isn’t limited to, 700 pounds of deli meat and cheese every day, 5,000 pounds of fresh, local chicken delivered from Gerber’s in Kidron each week, and nearly 800,000 pounds of vegetables annually. CFF also delivers 90 gallons of ranch salad dressing on a weekly basis.

“Ranch is the top seller by far,” joked cook Ginger Good as she pushed a large block of provolone cheese through a slicing machine. Good slices deli meat and cheese and also prepares salad dressings.

From hand cutting vegetables to smoking meat, OHIO Culinary Services purchases local food from companies across the state, including 150 to 200 pounds of Ohio Pride ground beef for hamburger patties, local apples, cider, and more.

In preparation for the holiday dinner in December, cook Vicki Hixson led a brief tour of the kitchen where gingersnap sweet potatoes, turkey gravy and turkey rolls were being prepared. On one side of the kitchen, executive chef Jeffrey Arthur sampled homemade turkey gravy to ensure its perfection while Hixson explained that this year’s holiday dinner was a zero waste event.

Just beyond the main kitchen, cook Marsha Grubb packaged cooked sausage gravy for the holiday meal and placed it into a state-of-the art cook and chill system.

In other areas of the facility, vegetables and fruits were being hand sliced by staff, and Jones explained it was another effort to decrease waste. “We can’t really put most fruit on a machine without having a lot of waste, so nothing is precut or comes from a container,” she said, adding that the food also lacks preservatives. “Everything is all natural.”

The same high standard is held for meat, which is cut and prepared fresh daily. “One of the reasons we went to cutting our own meat was because of the quality lost with prepackaged items,” Jones said. “The steaks are all cut here now, all beef strips, chicken, everything, so it’s done correctly.”

On the other side of the room, a smoker that holds 1,100 pounds of meat is filled with pork roasts and set to smoke for 20 hours.

Freshness is a theme that holds true in every department, including the bakery where 92 percent of all baked goods are prepared within CFF. On this particular day, cakes and candy cane cookies were being prepared in anticipation of the holiday meal.

“The racks hold 30 dozen cookies each,” explained baker Kevin Stickel as he prepped candy cane cookies for the oven. “We ship approximately 1,000 dozen a day.”

CFF couldn’t succeed without the help of delivery drivers and employees who organize the food each day, Jones pointed out. Drivers like Dodstill Dempsey ensure that food arrives on time at each location, while storage clerk Carol Brown organizes all the food for the drivers.

“I have seven pages of food orders today,” Brown said. “If we don’t have it ready, then I reach Mary and she makes sure we get it made. She’s a good person to work for.”

From cleaning the floors to sanitizing the large machines every morning, custodian Angie Cain always works to ensure the CFF meets industry standards, Jones said.

Ensuring that all state and federal food guidelines are met is OHIO Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Manager Rosanna Nelson, whose job includes looking through the manufacturing process and identifying where there could be a risk to food safety, and then working to eliminate it.

CFF is considered a manufacturing facility that is regulated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture, while the dining halls are regulated by the Athens City-County Health Department. "It’s a very detailed plan and there’s only a handful of schools in the United States that do what we do,” said Nelson.

Jones largely attributes the success of CFF to all of its dependable employees and an attentive management staff. “I can’t say enough about our entire team,” Jones said. “The great things that we’re able to accomplish are the result of the hard work of every individual at CFF.”

The success of Ohio University Culinary Services' Central Food Facility can be attributed to its detail-oriented managers and hard-working employees who make a difference within the University community every day.

(Ben Siegel/Ohio University)

The success of Ohio University Culinary Services' Central Food Facility can be attributed to its detail-oriented managers and hard-working employees who make a difference within the University community every day.

UCM seeks nominations for ‘Making the Difference’ series

The Ohio University community is home to a family of staff and faculty committed to inspired teaching and learning and driven by a desire to make a difference.

In the fall of 2013, University Communications and Marketing launched a new Compass series, “Making the Difference.” The series focuses on OHIO staff and faculty who are making a difference – on campus, in the community, in their fields, and around the word.

UCM is calling on Bobcat Nation to help us share the stories of the numerous ways in which OHIO staff and faculty are making a difference every day. If you know of an individual or group of individuals who would be ideal candidates for this series, please contact Angela Woodward at woodwara@ohio.edu.