Monday, March 24, 2014

Pre-camp meal service

The kitchen crew at Oakland Feather River Camp cooks for staff during the pre-camp phase of the summer. In the first four weeks of meal service, the cooks, housekeepers, maintenance staff and camp management eat breakfast and lunch in the Chow Palace. Staff that live on site enjoy leftovers or prepare their own food for dinner.

Weekend groups converge on the Oakland Camp on the third and fourth weekends of May. After a week of training, this is my first opportunity to test the cooks with the full menu. It gives me a chance to test the menu and the their skill. It also introduces the cooks to camp traditions and camp culture, two aspects of camp life that dictate how we serve campers in the Chow Palace. Any kinks are worked out in the next week.

The cooks work long days as they cook and serve the meals for 100 or more campers on these weekends. They also wash dishes and clean the Chow Palace without assistance from the dishwashers. Full staffing with the dishwashers doesn't occur until staff training week.

Staff training week begins on the second Saturday of June. With full staffing in all departments, the kitchen serves around 30 to 35, many first termers at Oakland Feather River Camp. The unique aspect of the week is that the kitchen pulls double duty, cooking and serving meals and attending the training sessions. It's a challenging week, but one that we work through to accomplish both goals.

Full camp begins in earnest on the third Sunday in June.

Pre-camp meals are served from the serving line in May 2013. With 10 to 12 at each meal, it doesn't make sense to wheel the buffet lines into the dining hall yet. The buffet lines are first used during staff training week (second week of June). The kitchen serving line is used to serve vegetarian and vegan meals for the summer camp sessions (third week of June to mid-August).

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