Monday, June 29, 2009

Training at Deer Crossing Camp

Three weeks into camp, I can clearly see the three-phase approach to training at Deer Crossing Camp. Training begins 10 days before the first campers arrive. While most training sessions (like first aid, CPR and life guarding) are direct at the instructors, the cook and his assistance use the training period to:
  • Clean and organize the kitchen after nine months in mothball status
  • Clean and organize the food storeroom and refrigerators
  • Learn the Deer Crossing two-week cycle menu
  • Prepare all of the recipes as is practical
  • Adjust to the erratic nature of food supply and refrigeration
  • Prepare and submit the first Sysco order
  • Teach the instructors food safety in the role as they supervise clean-up and dishes
  • Learn how to re-fuel and to safely start the generators
  • Learn how to take daily chlorine readings in the water system
Once campers arrive for Session 1, the next two weeks are devoted to preparing all the DCC recipes in larger quantities, adjusting to the likes and dislikes of the campers, appetites and meal set-up and family style of service.

Session 1 helps because it typically has less than 50 campers and staff. The cooks are able to ease in to Sessions 2 and 3, which max out at 65 to 70 campers and staff.

The remainder of the summer season is devoted to fine tuning the skills of the cooks. One of my goals this year is to work on the DCC recipes and to purchase a few extra herbs and spices (mainly missing standards like thyme, oregano and garlic graduals), revise the two-week menu and continue training my assistant cook (her home is in Mongolia!).

By Session 4, I envision a well-running team in the kitchen. We’ll then be ready for the 2010 season.

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