My time spent at Riderwood Village, a retirement community home in Calverton, Maryland, has gone quickly. Five weeks ago my internship partner Chandler Ray and I embarked upon this journey hoping to learn as much as possible about foodservice production in a kitchen restaurant. We have had many jobs while working here including working as kitchen staff members doing various tasks around the kitchen, serving on the buffet line in the Windsor Restaurant, and planning a theme meal that we hosted on Friday March 6th. We have enjoyed meeting residents, staff members, and planning our meal!
Choosing the theme of the meal was the first crucial decision to be made in the production process. Chandler and I both love the beach and the ocean so we immediately brainstormed places with beautiful beaches. In the end we chose to use the islands of Greece as our theme, entitling our meal “Grecian Island Getaway.”
The next step was to create a menu for the meal. This entailed researching the Grecian islands and their typical cuisine. After two days of research and planning we decided upon our menu:
Once the menu was chosen, theme meal planning went into overdrive. We produced flyers, handouts, and even a TV commercial to help market the meal to the residents of Riderwood.
Recipes were converted to yield enough food for the 120 people we aimed to serve! Meals were analyzed for nutritional value and as a unique touch we provided the residents with a gluten-free menu; we did this to accommodate the requests of several residents who desire to reduce gluten in their diet. A grocery list was created, food was bought and ordered, and production schedules were created to help keep us on task throughout the final week before our meal.
The week before the meal we spent our time chopping vegetables (I smelled like an onion the entire week), butchering meat, planning, making, and buying our decorations, and prepping and cooking our dishes. Snow threatened the success of our efforts but communication and acceptance between Chandler and I played a key role in making the day run smoothly. We also couldn’t have done it without the help of our kitchen staff!
The day turned out great! Our goal was to serve 120 people and we ended up serving 130! The entire process of planning the meal required patience, flexibility, and hard work. I have newfound perspective on what it is like to work with the elderly population and what it is like to work as a kitchen restaurant employee.
Pictures below are from the theme meal!