University of Southern Indiana

Behind the Scene

Industrial Kitchen at USI

The Food and Nutrition Program’s high-end, industrial kitchen on the Health Professions Center’s third floor wasn’t created for culinary cooking (although that occurs), it was designed for thinking and learning.

Those studying for careers in the three Food and Nutrition concentrations offered—food service management, dietetics, and nutrition and wellness—are equipped with the knowledge and technological skills necessary to excel in the food management and dietetic needs of school corporations, businesses, hospitals, senior living facilities and anywhere large quantities of food are prepared and served.

Through engaged classrooms with smart technology and hands-on practicums, students learn alongside USI food service employees on campus, from cultural-nutritional consultants in the kitchen’s five food prep stations and Vanderburgh County Health Department food inspectors in the field. The program ensures everyone gains expertise in menu conception, recipe adaptation, budgeting, purchasing, service and more.

Steeped in both food and science knowledge, students are skilled operators of leading-edge equipment and possess the ability to assess the role that behavior and economics have on planning and eating healthy diets. Since 2001, 100% of USI’s Food and Nutrition students have passed the national ServSafe exam.

1.While the meal is the main event, developing food service management skills—finance, budgeting and purchasing knowhow—are the foundation to ensuring food operations succeed and that quality, safe food is served.

2.Living in a global world means preparing cultural dishes and knowing their nutritional values. Students are educated by consulting chefs on ingredients, the history behind their use and cultural relevance.

3.Texture, taste and temperature play a large role in food prepared for people of all ages and health conditions. Understanding how to prepare food for people with diet-related diseases—such as cancer patients and the special needs of periodontal patients— is distinctive.

4.The cooking capacity of this equipment is unparalleled. The kitchen is designed so many pieces of equipment can be brought in for on-site teaching demos as well as remote video instructions.

5.Everything from menu conception and knowing how to prepare a quality, high-quantity meal from scratch, to adjusting a recipe to fit specific nutritional needs and correcting an ingredient mishap while remaining cost effective, are all part of the knowledge gained.

6.Traditional, large institutions aren’t the only career options for Food and Nutrition students. Those with entrepreneurial spirits receive the skills necessary to strike out on their own to build a fleet of food trucks, open a boutique restaurant or become the snack curator for a company such as Google.

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