Imagine having to wear masks for five days a week for 11 hours a day while cooking and cleaning to extreme standards. That would be stressful, wouldn’t it? Well, the Flik Dining staff members have made significant changes to their routines and deal with all the stress to provide food for all students and faculty at Mount Pisgah.
The COVID-19 outbreak led Mount Pisgah to finish the fourth quarter virtually; therefore, Flik Dining did not have to do any prepping, cooking, or cleaning. During the summer, however, lots of restaurants, gyms and schools started serving again including Mount Pisgah. The Flik Team has had to create and follow safety protocols in a short amount of time to meet the demand.
“I think we’ve adapted pretty well,” said executive chef Christopher Walsh. “We’ve had a little orientation to make sure everyone understood where we needed to be.” Walsh has been cooking professionally for 35 years and began his culinary career at 17 years old. This is his first year being a part of the Mount Pisgah Flik dining staff and he has taken his new role with pride.
The Flik Team has created a new way of organizing how they serve the food. Each team member has his or her own station. Some stations are the sandwich bar, the salad bar, meat/protein station, vegetables station and finally the side dish station.
“For COVID-19, it changed everything in so many different ways so now we have to do a pre-packaged salad,” said executive sous chef Russ Carter. “Price having your spread of different salads on the salad bar so now we have to minimize it to two salads and make our own house dressings. [For] Making sandwiches, we cannot use the panini machine, a more bad thing for y’all but we try to come down as best as we can and try to make it friendly and courteous to everybody.” Carter is another new member who works alongside Walsh. Previously he was an executive chef in the military. After an injury he retired from that job and now that he has recovered he joined Mount Pisgah’s Flik team.
Due to COVID-19, the team now has to use plastic plates, silverware, and set out pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, and fruit. This was put in place so students can easily grab the items they choose without touching shared serving utensils.
“We really have to clean as we go,” says Carter. The team has their own sanitation stations with a set of wipes. Additionally, the team must wear masks in the kitchen due to the difficulty of social distancing in a small environment.
It’s the simple new additions that have allowed Flik dining to satisfy the student body while abiding by the necessary health guidelines.