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New Job at a sorority house...need menu advice!!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Starting January I will be working as a chef for a sorority house. Their previous chef is moving because her husband is relocating for his job. I was wondering if anybody had any ideas for menus...I want to impress and be as creative as possible!

Here are the basics of the job. The kitchen is large and industrial, it's quite nice. There is plenty of storage space and everything is clean and will be efficient. The budget is large enough to provide things like shrimp, chicken, steak, etc. There will be assistant chefs working with me. I am in charge of providing the following meals: Lunch and Dinner Monday-Thursday, and a "brunch" on Friday. There are 200 girls in the sorority, but the only night I have to cook for approximately that many is Monday Dinner. The rest of the nights they said to expect about 80 for dinner.

Here are some sample menus from the previous cook so you can see the type of food to be served, as well as the amount of entrees, sides, etc.

DINNER #1
Chicken and eggplant parmesan
Fettucini alfredo
Green beans
Garlic bread
Salad bar

DINNER #2
Flank steak
Baked potato bar
Broccoli
Salad bar

DINNER #3
Salmon
Roasted red potatoes
Peas & carrots
Dinner rolls
Salad bar

Occasionally fun "ethnic" nights like Burrito Bar, etc.

Lunches I'm supposed to provide a salad and sandwich bar, as well as an "entree" such as a soup, specialty sandwich, pasta, etc.

So my question is this. Given those parameters, does anybody have any ideas for menus? I am going to give the girls a survey about what they like/dislike, but I want to be a) creative as I get the idea that their previous chef was very basic b) address their health needs because apparently they try to make the meals very healthy and c) obviously have meals that can be cooked for that many people.

I'm very excited and want suggestions! Not only just for dinner menus, but also for sandwich/salad bar, the brunch on Friday, etc. This is going to be very challenging but a lot of fun and I'd love input.
post #2 of 20
Its jobs likethose that I wish I was single.

I would deifnitly go the servey route and just ask them. What do you want.

I wouldnt be to surpirsed if people ask for some comfort foods. like meatloaf with mashed potatos, or maybe like a chicken casserole.
post #3 of 20
Southeast Asian is huge with college kids in the Midwest. Pho, springrolls ....labor intensive, vegetable makimotos.

Middle Eastern falalfel, hummos, baba ganoush, swarma salad, tabbouli, pitas...
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 20
It's nice to know the girls can sit down to a quality meal. It's important they stay strong and healthy for all the pillow fights.

Kevin
post #5 of 20
jw, there have been sorority house (and actually frat house) cooks posting on cheftalk for years. Seems like most had less than 200 girls to feed though. That would be one really big house.
I mentioned this as it's your first post and the archives have an awful lot of useful posts on just this subject. Several of the pros deal with mass daily feedings.
Posting how the food is out would be helpful. ie lunch is from 11-2 with buffet line or the ability to make dishes at the last minute.....flat top.....
How many kitchen staff do you have? Most that posted were solo. What part of the country are you located? is it southern Florida where it's warm 12 months out of the year with loads of fish or Minn. where the snow buries them for numerous months?
Can you buy from local sources or only source from certain wholesalers?
Do you wanna make your own baked goods or source um out?
Do you have to follow any USDA guidelines?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 20
Here's a tip:

Bake some cookies every night and set them out.

I used to do one pasta every night, a protein, and an always fresh salad bar. The rest was made up as I went along. :)
post #7 of 20
hot cookies....ok, you've found the way to a woman's heart.....
well actually guy's too.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 20
I have a survey sheet on the wall each time I get a new group of clients. It asks--favorite food, food you will not eat by preference, food allergies or special diets, how they like steaks, etc. done, which milk. It is so helpful. I do not remeber who likes their steak how, but have an idea how many rare, etc. to plan on.
You wil probably have some vegetarians and/or vegans. Like the poster above, I usually have a pasta at each dinner and it is usually vegetarian.
I have beans and rice available most days with no meat products. Also most of my soups are vegetarian and many vegan.
I almost always have a lactose intollerent person or two. They can of course eat the vegan dishes and pick from the others.
My first LI person was very, very sensitive, taught me that we put cheese on so many things where it is not necessary.
I also usually have some non pork people.
Sounds like a fun job. Maybe when my body gets tired of shipboard routine I would consider something like that.
Good luck and don't forget, fun at work is required!
Nan
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I used the search function...I didn't really find anything searching under "sorority", just occasional replies to topics from a user named pastachef where she mentioned cooking at a sorority house, but it was usually just in passing (ie "I used that sauce once when I cooked for the sorority," etc). Did I use a bad search term? If there are threads that are specific to my question I'd love to be able to find them!
post #10 of 20
try fraternity breakfasts
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 20
which does not address lunch nor dinner.......oops.
Just seems like we've dealt with this through the years, any of you that have been around for ions remember what the info would be under?

I've got a buddy who quit his high profile white linen gig and took on a temp consulting job for his uncle working on a jail/prison some institution....reworking their menu. they had nominal budget to say the least but had to have vegetarian options and watch the pork. It was facinating hearing how he was working through the hoops. No better puzzles out there.

recycling bread into bread pudding, stuffing, french toast, croutons.....etc....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 20
>Maybe when my body gets tired of shipboard routine I would consider something like that.<

Hey! What happened to the country inn we was gonna open? ;)
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 20

JW...best of luck to you in your new position.  I am an assistant chef in a Sorority house and will be interviewing for a position for Chef in another house.  Kinda nervous as I have to generate a sample week menu and have no idea of budgetary limits.  I have also been informed that meals are all made from scratch.....no precooked food. Yikes!  I also have to document veg. options for every meal. Any suggestions would be helpful.  The house is very similar to your situation.  80 girls and 150 on Mon. (Chapter night).  A lunch suggestion I have for you that our girls love is Ham & Cheese croissant sandwiches.  Slice cheese on diagonal (Swiss & American) place on piece on bottom of croissant add ham then other piece of cheese and top off croissant.  put in oven just long enough to melt cheese.  Serve with Asian Slaw Salad (Ramen noodles, sesame seeds red onion mixed with any V&O or sesame salad dressing)  It's a quick fix and one of our house favorites.  If you have any creative yet quick fix suggestions please let me know.  Wish me luck.....I really want this job!

post #14 of 20

Ramen noodles, at least thats what I ate in college.

post #15 of 20

I'm no expert on  menu planning, but I have worked at a college for five of the last six years.  If your students are anything like ours, you can expect them to want to change up the menu style every new school year, and possibly every semester.  Pizza nights were always popular.

 

I like your survey idea.  What may be more effective and easier to tabulate would be to use an online survey tool like Zoomerang.  They have a free option available (I think it's limited to a week long survey).  I'm sure one of the sorority leaders or a Resident Director would be able to send out the link to your survey via email.  This would let the students take the survey when it's convenient for them and not have to worry about getting the paper survey back to the dining hall.

 

BHT

post #16 of 20

I worked in one and the big thing was the salad bar and the cookies.  smile.gif  At every meal I had a pasta option, a protein, starch, veg.  Normal buffet stuff works like chicken picatta, chicken szechuan stir fry, beef stroganoff, mash potatoes, etc.

post #17 of 20

Rockstarchef: You may not have noticed, but this thread is three years old. So I reckon jwsteele has gotten whatever help she needs by now.

 

Let me suggest that of all the ideas submitted above the survey is the most important. With 80-150 diners involved there will be an array of restrictions you'll have to cope with. Vegans, and lactose intolerance, and gluten intolerance, and allergies, and restrictions based on religion (neither Jews nor Muslims eat pork, for instance), and.....well, you get the point.

 

Then there are preferences that should be aherred to. If, for instance, 65 of the 80 girls prefer 2% milk, that sort of decides things for you.

 

Obviously, you can't perform the survey until you land the job. But as you design the sample menu keep those things in mind. Allowing for them, along with hints you've picked up at your current house, should serve you in good stead.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #18 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Rockstarchef: You may not have noticed, but this thread is three years old. So I reckon jwsteele has gotten whatever help she needs by now.



D'oh!  I guess I just repeated myself.

post #19 of 20

He probably came from a search engine and didn't notice the date.

post #20 of 20

I'm in the same situation, but their kids and they will eat anything you put in front of them but it has to look and taste good, depending on their diets and religious beliefs. You can put a pork roulade or turkey roulade, fill them with spinach and vegetables, just blanch the vegetables before filling them. Make fresh pizza dough, it doesn't cost much and easy to make and it tastes better than the frozen stuff. Stir fry and brown rice or Lo Mein noodles work well, especially for the girls. lasagna or baked Ziti is also a great meal, buy whole prime ribs and cut them into steaks and make a nice sauce with au gratin potatoes. Baked fish with a piccata sauce and a rice pilaf and grilled vegetables. Chicken breast marinated in a pesto sauce and grilled, but find out the allergens of the students first. I have an interview with a frat house on Monday and I'm excited because I have seven kids of my own and I know how they like to eat, good luck and if you need anymore help email me and i will assist you the best I can, good luck to you and God bless.

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