I’ve been at the medical center for close to 25 years and have spent many, many hours in our old chilled production kitchen (CPK). I sort of “grew up “ with cook chill at Ohio State and CPK was my laboratory. But in our new model, we would be shutting the laboratory down.
On the last day of operations in CPK, I have to admit I had mixed emotions. While it is so exciting to open a brand new space, for more than 20 years, I’ve had back porch stories with our staff who worked there. We talked about families, children and then grandchildren (and topics like how really little I know about current music!)
I remembered the people whose paths I crossed in CPK. On our closing day, I also thought about those funny food stories - the caramel apple debacle in the 100 gallon kettles; making 12,000 meatballs, trying to build a few 2-foot gingerbread houses and the thousands of gallons of punch made for holiday parties.
I think we forget that our work areas trigger memories and that they are a significant part of who we become in the workplace.
Then, suddenly it is opening day.You absolutely love all the trimmings of “new stuff." And with a new cook chill system comes some really cool technology. I loved sharing the opening morning experience with staff as they got to move and use their new “home."
The efficiency of the new kitchen is amazing! Our new combi ovens rock! We had traditional ovens in our old kitchens.. so we are now cooking at light speed in comparison. It is exciting to see our chefs figuring out the best use for their new tools of the trade.
On the other hand, within 1-2 days of opening the new kitchen, our “old” CPK was torn down to its bones. With the demolition went pieces of time. I will admit to being a connector of history—our past does have an impact on who we are as people and those connections extend to the spaces in which we live and work.
I felt I needed to keep part of our history alive by salvaging a working Toledo Scale that has been in our kitchens since the 1940’s. Everyone gets excited about the new things we've added, but part of me reveres what’s right about the 1940's scale. It has its own story to tell of our history. So it’s staying!