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How Has Covid Changed the Greenbrier?

[Music]

thank you for joining

the american culinary federation today

as we take you inside america's kitchens

today we are at the legendary greenbrier

resort in west virginia and we'll be

speaking to

chef brian skelding i'm jackie

pressinger director of strategic

partnerships

and looking forward to having you join

us today

chef skeleton can you tell us a little

bit about yourself and how you found

yourself at this

amazing resort here in west virginia

sure um so i started back here in 2002

i came here based on a chef that did the

apprenticeship program here his name was

tom wall

um he graduated in uh 1989

and i met him when i was living in

honolulu hawaii

and he sent me to go work with chef

panke he was in columbus ohio

jeff hanke was the executive chef here

as well uh back in the

early to mid 80s and i you know when i

came here

i really came here just for one year to

be honest and i wanted to work in the

tavern room that was like the

creme de la creme you know the fine

dining and the dover soul table side and

all that stuff

but i really fell in love with the

community here and the culture in the

kitchens

um i've used this story before as i'm

from midwest wisconsin and

i remember walking down white sulphur

springs one day because i lived right

downtown

and a gentleman stopped by and he said

hello to me because i was like i don't

know you

i was like we don't do that in in

wisconsin so right away that

friendliness

that atmosphere really just kind of

permeates with the type of people that

we all

work with day in and day out so for me

that was that was really kind of

eye-opening

and working here has just been a

pleasure ever since but for me the

most precious thing is the people i work

with every day for sure

chef over the past seven years you've

made a lot of great changes to the

dining operations

and i'd love to hear about all of the uh

outlets that you oversee here at the

green room

well so we have 14 kitchens and we have

uh eight full-time restaurants

um on top of those restaurants we also

have a very large banquet

operation which does uh right around 13

million of our 40 million

uh in food and beverage revenue and of

course we have in-room dining you know

24 hours a day operation

as well as we have different lounges and

bars and of course halfway houses

all around the golf courses so all in

all there's uh

20 food beverage operations on property

amazing and so what is the size of your

staff to run all this food and beverage

so believe it or not actually takes

really right at 200 culinarians

to run without overtime uh most of us

chefs know that that's really not a

reachable goal

but you gotta have those goals that

aren't reachable um hopefully

you know get as close as you can to

excellence um and that that'd be with no

overtime so

like last year i ran right at about 167

was the most that i had at any given

time

plus managers so that 200 also equates

into the managers because there's a

shepherd cuisine for

essentially every kitchen as well how

has business been since reopened

business has been phenomenal actually so

we were planning on opening right around

memorial weekend we started planning a

couple weeks out getting ready for that

and you know you hope opening up on such

a normally busy holiday

that things would go really well well

they went splendidly well

and you know we really reached to the

maximum of what we could do we were over

a thousand guests

um we had most operations open as it

relates to restaurants

we were still underneath the mandate

where we couldn't have the casino or the

pool open

so that restricted us a little bit but

then that uh eased up on june 6th

and from then i mean we've been pushing

you know 90

occupancy we're looking at almost 80

occupancy for the whole month of july

and we also in a director's meeting

today our director of room said normally

she has 300

voicemails on average through the week

and she's at 2 000 right now

on average week to week which is people

wanting to book here so

it's a good problem to have super super

excited to be here we have a different

stress than we had six weeks ago for

sure

well for sure and i'm glad to hear those

numbers i know it's going to give a lot

of hope to the chefs who are tuning in

um that business will be coming back and

come back strong

as it relates to group business what did

you do and how did you communicate

with your guests so group business um

kerry baldwin and myself kerry's

director of

event services as well as some of the

sales team you know we started thinking

about what are the guests going to be

looking for how can we deliver

the experience that they're looking for

as related to groups um so we started to

put a small banker bankrupt together

that consisted of some options and green

bar

options because that's one thing we want

to do as reopening is we wanted to still

deliver the green bar experience

otherwise we don't want to reopen i mean

otherwise we wait and figure out what

the mandates are going to come to and we

do it from there

but we put together a small banker rep

that we could easily send out to any of

the groups

it had some of the guidelines in there

talked about what our scenario was for

buffets

because we weren't allowed to do

self-service buffets

we decided to try to get everyone to do

more choice menus

uh box lunches box breakfasts

as well as like action stations so we do

some dinner actions

like we have a wedding this weekend that

they originally wanted a buffet so what

we're doing is we're taking

some of those chunks of their buffet

that they were going to do and just

separate them all around the room and

have

you know a chef just doing a little

salad where they're just almost like

topless portions

there's some service that's involved in

that as maybe servers are helping maybe

slice some different meats

or help give some things to the guests

made from the bar um

so it's been a learning curve and it's

very fluid so that banker rep really

helped us out a lot

as well as the sales team and event

service team was here day in and day out

talking to the guests daily

reaching out to him hey here's where

we're at what do you think about this

let's customize that

so that was really you know very

personable experience for for everybody

absolutely seems communication seems

really key yeah absolutely communication

is

as you know you know being in the

culinary industry communication is

always key for sure yeah

chuck can you share any challenges that

you've had to overcome since they're

reopening

so the one challenge that really because

we have been so busy

is we can do 50 occupancy in the

restaurants

but also tables of six that's the

largest that we can do so what we have

to do is really think about

how each of these dining rooms are going

to look like we had to pull some tables

out move some chairs around

we also adjusted our reservation system

to also only allow so many guests at a

certain time

for example our steakhouse has 130 seats

well we know we can't go over 65

seats um so we adjusted open table in

order to

you know so we can manage that and it

can't be overbooked

so that was one of the biggest things

that we've had to dealt with and still

deal with because

not all guests honestly always

understand our situation

and we're just as honest and upfront as

we can and

take when we can you know right and um

do you see a lot of guests who want to

dine traditionally in the dining rooms

or people looking at outdoor dining

options from service options

room service has done very well it's

room service always kind of like a fire

house it's like

it's so quiet all summer in the bell

rings and then this is fast and furious

we did purchase a tent and put it

outside prime 44 patio our steakhouse

that way allowed for another 48 seats

and keep in mind that that tent also

allowed us to

use that as a full occupancy so we could

still then

you know bring in that many more into

the full

reservation system in order to meet

those guidelines um and honestly with

going kind of going from spring to

summer so quickly and being in west

virginia

one day it's cold one day it's raining

the next day it's 90 it seems like

so there's days where it does really

really well and then there's days where

maybe it's a little humid and people

don't want to sit outside and they'd

rather get some air conditioning

right all right well at least there's a

lot of options yeah we like having

options yeah

chef with such a large team how are you

handling social distancing from your

kitchens

so we're fortunate most of our kitchens

are rather sized you see the main

kitchen here

there can be 50 cooks working here at

some point

but what we do is we just gotta you know

manage it

move people around if a culinarian

starts to get a little bit too close

um we have the mask our face max masks

on so that always kind of helps as well

but we really just just got to manage it

daily because human beings we all kind

of have a tendency to

go back towards our normal habits you

know so but it hasn't been too much of a

challenge it really hasn't

so chef um what hurdles have you had to

overcome both with closing down and

reopening as

it pertains to staffing so closing down

was challenging because we do rely

we have a lot of j-1 visas here at the

property both front of the house back of

the house

and with everyone not knowing what's

going to happen especially with

international travel or when are we

going to open back up what's the country

going to do

this kitchen actually looked like a

human resource department for about

three days

as myself and chef jones and diane we

work with all these

with all these students figuring out who

can stay

do they want to stay can they stay based

on the department of state guidelines so

we had

we had about nine of them stay and sign

off that they you know went

meet maybe the 32 hours a week that's

mandate mandated by the department of

state

and the rest of them we finished all

their you know we gave all their

certificates of completion

because we don't want anyone to i would

never punish someone for not finishing

because technically they did and they

did a great job for us so

that was difficult and then of course

reopening when you don't have a lot of

your

staff because they went away as well as

honestly

you know with the government and the

extra 600 you get a week

i don't have a ton of full-time resumes

just showing up on my desk

but i have had a good bid i've had i've

spoken to people all the way as far as

hawaii

um as close as west virginia and

virginia so other resorts that aren't

opening

there's culinarians that are calling and

asking about it and um

you know i've i've been fortunate i've

hired 49 culinarians in the last three

weeks

wow so i've been really really lucky

i've been talking a lot of friends and

colleagues and

just trying to find people looking for

work and it's been a great

it's been a great experience because

those that show up are just so eager

because they've been without a paycheck

in some cases almost three months it's

been crazy

well i'm sure a lot of the chefs and

culinary students who are tuning in are

obviously going to give the greenbrier a

good look after this as well so

hopefully we'll sure

find some find something a few more

spots yeah i've got a few more

chef can you let us know a little bit

more about the apprenticeship program

here at the green rider

sure um it's always tough to put into

words um but the couple things i'll tell

you is

you know the history of the food and the

culinary operations here

um means so much to me and we stand on

the shoulders of those before us

and the it was started by herman roosch

back in 1957

and there weren't a lot of culinary

schools around back then and he used

that as a way to

recruit and train local applicants and

still today that's the main purpose of

it is to really help train and build a

backbone

to the culinary team here and not only

does it push the culinarians to learn

but it's a tremendous impact on all of

us as managers to

research things you read cookbooks offer

suggestions to talk about flavors what's

trending right now

so it's a very um evolving

apprenticeship program

um it changes every year changes month

to month even

based on you know again we make it

personable how we talked about like with

group business and communication

so what i've done is in order to try to

paint a better picture

is um i start up an instagram account uh

about

three years ago now um and i post every

now and then just

what does a day in the life look at the

green bar from a culinary side of things

um and then just about two weeks ago i

started a youtube channel called the

green bar kitchen yes

um have one one video on there and we're

gonna do you know maybe one a month or

one every other month

next we're gonna focus on some of the

kitchens but the main thing was

is when we did graduation and uh chef

kevin walker cmc and the chef red tease

from johnson wales we're here

and chef walker said you know what he

said you should really look at doing

like a video of the day in the life of

an apprentice

and he goes everyone's looking at

youtube these days so i emailed him two

weeks ago and said hey won't you check

out greenbark kitchen

on the youtube and he sent me a note

right back he said that's just awesome

so

we're pretty excited our green bar

webpage has uh our open jobs

as well as has an apprenticeship uh page

as well so there's videos in there

there's a little blurb on what the

apprenticeship is

and of course anyone can ever call reach

out to me dm me on instagram it's no

problem

sure um and can you how long is the

apprenticeship program

so at first it sounds like a long time

it's three years but

i can tell you it goes by in the blink

of an eye yeah it really does

it's fast and furious the camaraderie is

unbelievable i think that some of the

favorite things apprentices i hear after

graduating is the friendships that they

make

as well as just the fundamentals that

they learn everything from souffles

how to make an omelette butchery

charcuterie how to run a grill in a

steakhouse

how to make sushi and infusion we cover

the whole gamut i mean we have so many

different styles of food here

um it's so much to learn so much to

learn so chef this all sounds fabulous

for those who might be interested do you

have any full-time positions available

now i do

so what i'm really in the need for right

now are just some good solid line cooks

um i have a couple of things posted on

the website as it relates to a couple

different restaurant locations

but of course it's always i try to find

the right seat on the bus for people so

i was talking to young man the other day

down in georgia and we talked about all

the restaurants and

the maine dining room suited him

perfectly so he's going to come up here

and start working for us in the main

dining room

as well as a couple sous chef positions

i also have a couple bakers

position open as well as a pastry chef

so they're all on the website anyone can

check them out

but yeah absolutely chef mentoring seems

like it's

such an important part of the greenbrier

culinary team's success

who have been your mentors so some of my

earliest culinary mentors were actually

tom wong who i mentioned a little

earlier ago because i did meet him in

hawaii

and he was really kind of the first

first gentleman outside of wisconsin

first chef if you would

um they've told me about the green bar

i've never heard of it and

i've been here three times so i'm on my

third tour it's my longest tour

i'm going on 11 years on my third tour

but each time that i

looked at coming back here i've always

made a call to him and

and to see what he thought and every

time he's like

you're an idiot if you don't go there

you know he's like you know the answer

to that

um so he's been one of my biggest

mentors and then of course being here as

long as i have

you have your chef rich rosendale and

your chef peter timmons um so i learned

so much from those gentlemen

um so those are some of my more my my

latest mentors if you would and then uh

the other one that comes to mind is chef

lawrence mcfadden also a cmc out of

cleveland right now so he really helped

me kind of reinvigorate the

apprenticeship program we went to a more

tasted

scenario as opposed to everything was

cold food and

mystery baskets at the time and now

everything is tasted every peptane fruit

every canopy

every terrine is tasted now so he really

helped me he was a judge three years in

a row and each year we kind of gradually

tried a couple things and worked on what

his graduation look like what do the

meetings look like

so those those are the gentlemen that

come to mind first and foremost

so chef what advice would you have for

those who are coming into the industry

the young chefs the culinary students

um love to hear for me it's get in the

field

get in the kitchen it doesn't matter

what kind of kitchen it is if there

isn't something that

is around you that is maybe you know

fine dining you've got to understand how

kitchen works and we call kitchen common

sense

get uncomfortable find people that are

passionate about cooking

find teams that are passionate about

working together

and there's times where you're not going

to enjoy it i'll be honest but those are

the times where you learn things that

maybe you don't want to do or a

management style that you don't want to

emulate

but that's just part of the growing

process because you learn so much from

mistakes

or so much from things that maybe are

outside your comfort zone whether good

or bad

and it just shapes you who you are today

so that's one thing i always talk to as

i'm recruiting to young culinarians is

it's the first thing i look at a resume

if someone is going to culinary school

i look in and see not only what the

reference is but also is have you been

working

or are you you know just sitting in your

dorm room and you know just going to

class

and i'm going to say that's because of

experience i originally went to school

for accounting

and my first summer after graduating

high school

i think maybe the first day or the first

week i knew i wasn't going to be an

accountant

i just knew and i went back to the

kitchens where i

ultimately started and one day i said

you know i'm gonna go to culinary school

and i worked full time doing it because

i went to culinary school and

there's just some things in life that

you just know instantly that that was

the right call

and for me that's what it was so ann uh

if you could let us

know a little bit more about your role

here at the greenbrier and how you found

yourself working at the

amazing resort i'm ann sims i'm the

person logistics controller of the

greenbrier

and i began my career here 32 years ago

in the food store room

as a purchasing clerk doing her

disorders for food entry

evolved over the years through retail

control point of sale retail

now i'm back into food i manage the

food store room and the wine store room

and provide

as much support as i possibly can to the

food operation

wow in a resort this size i have to

imagine that's a huge huge job

it is but it's not what i do alone i

have a team of 10 and we

actively do everything we can to support

the kitchens we procure the food and do

the receiving and

fill the orders for all of the kitchens

on property it is quite a task we're

open

seven days a week 365 because people

always eat and we want to make sure they

have the best experience possible

i work a lot with the mapping of the

general ledger and things to accounting

as well from our purchasing system

so i support chef jones and chef

skelding

as much as i can with reporting food

cost controls

and those type of things and recently

we've been taking on more with the

beverage control aspect

and i've heard there's a greenbrier

covid task force can you tell us a

little bit about that

yes the resort wanted to be our owner

wanted to be proactive

in ensuring the health and safety of our

team members and of course all of our

guests that

choose to come here so a copin a task

force was established it includes our

vice president of operations

vice president of human resources our

director of security

our compliance and safety officer and

as well as our purchasing manager and

myself and we

are just following daily the fluid

situation that is happening with the

coveted guidelines

the governor of west virginia has rolled

out a statewide

guidelines for us to follow week by week

we've experienced a few challenges there

because of some of the nature of our

resort of having combined

i would call hybrid departments like our

outdoor pool

where we have a food outlet and a

recreation mingled together

and those came out on different

guidelines so what we're doing we are

actually reviewing

uh the guidelines daily with the uh and

comparing of course

the guidelines from the state are

written in relation with the cdc

guidelines so

we are also making ourselves available

to every team member here we have had we

are addressing guest concerns

um employee team member concerns on a

daily basis

we are making sure that we are in um

adherence to all of the guidelines

we're doing the 50 occupancy in each

outlet we

are clearly doing walk-throughs of every

single aspect of the resort before it

reopens to our guests

currently we are reopened in the

majority of those

we have of course puts guidelines in

place the casino

for instance maybe every other slot

machine is available

limited tables uh seating similar to

what we're doing in the restaurants as

well

removing bar stools limiting the number

of seats we remove tables we remove

chairs

we have provided ppe to our employees

with we're doing the distancing making

sure that if anyone is in close

proximity all

employees are screened upon entry of the

resort we are taking temperature checks

and ask the screening questions

to follow the guidelines we are also

providing mass

gloves all the ppe that we feel is

necessary to comply as well as maintain

again the safety of our guests

we want them to have a great experience

for here we don't want to feel like a

sterile

unwelcoming environment but we want to

make sure we're doing everything we can

to protect everyone

and we're currently meeting again like i

said we have standing meetings three

days

a week we are also meeting daily if

needed and

it's been a very good response from both

the guests and the team members

and again we're addressing concerns as

they come up i feel like we've

we've covered all the bases but again

the situation is so fluid it's changing

from day to day

so we are again reviewing them daily and

making adjustments on the fly as

necessary

right and i mean i noticed it even

before getting onto hotel property

um there was temperature checks for

everyone coming through the game

absolutely um as we were coming up

the uh those who were greeting us had

masks there was

signage everywhere there's uh hand

sanitizer um as soon as you're coming

into the resort and in the public spaces

absolutely you can see it from the

moment you show up good i'm glad to hear

that it means it's working

so in preparation for the opening uh do

i'll create protocols checklists for

food and beverage

actually um as chef was working on

staffing to bring back

to work we also started in food store

and working on protocols and how we were

going to get

procure product and get it delivered um

there's been a real challenge with

the markets trying to get product in

where we normally could place an order

about three o'clock

and have it at seven a.m the next

morning we're having to think ahead

and figure out how we're gonna do that

but we did do checklist we actually

with the coven task force help

established a delivery

process the people in the food store

that do the

unload of the trucks now wear double

gloves they wear masks at all times they

of course do the screening as they come

to work each day with the

coveted questions stringing questions

and mask wearing

we also began having the drivers with

each company

stay in their truck they come on

property they unload they give us the

invoices

and everything to check in the product

and then we have them remain in their

trucks

they are also screened either by their

we have statements they are screened by

their

companies before they ride the truck or

they are screened by our security guards

as well as they come onto the property

so we've changed our whole vendor list

as far as how they get on property they

have to have an appointment

there are no drop-in vendors now for

sampling or anything like that

everything has to go through a po

process it has to come through our

guards for a check-in and screening just

like any other employee

but we do have them stay in their trucks

now we unload everything and only bring

them back into property

if there's a problem with the order and

then we sign the papers

and again we provide them with mask and

hand sanitizer if they do need to come

in

to witness anything so that's been a big

challenge for us

um a little on the back of the house

side but it definitely is vital because

we want to make sure

that the cartons and everything are

coming in the guys are wearing double

gloves

um they're not handling any cardboard

boxes or any containers that are coming

in without gloves they're using hand

sanitizer hand washing

we're trying to make sure we're

following again all the code guidelines

and even stepping up a step further by

limiting the number of people that can

just come into the resort they still

have to be screened and have a purpose

for being here sure that certainly seems

above and beyond where it's great for

safety and chef how about for the

kitchens in the dining rooms

so we we started putting a list together

based on the mandates

as well as just kind of reminding

everyone about some of the normal

you know things that we deal with every

day in the kitchen obviously we've been

you know we deal with perishable goods

we deal with germs we do have bacterias

we deal with temperatures

danger zones all that stuff so for us it

wasn't too much of a stretch some of the

biggest things that were maybe a change

was

definitely keeping an eye on hand

washing scrubbing down stations before

you get on the stations

again normal stuff but just really

managing it

and doing it more frequently especially

the hand washing

and then i would say probably social

distancing

make sure everyone's wearing their masks

you know as we wear these masks they

have a tendency to wear out

whether it be how hot it is or because

you got to taste your food you got to

keep moving these masks around

for culinary that was probably the

biggest stretch as it relates to the

front of the house

team members you know we started

laminating most of the venues so those

need to be wiped down

sanitized uh sanitizing stations on all

of the uh side stands so that anytime a

guest gets up

or a table needs to be flipped it's not

just cleared it's sanitized you know

arms of the chairs backs of the chairs

salt and pepper shakers

so that you know the dining rooms look

very empty all rolled silverware

um essentially there's nothing on the

table except for the linen

once you sit down that way we can

sanitize everything in the back and then

bring every piece of equipment or food

item that you need

as uh as your dinner progresses sure um

and and as a chef too i know that

sanitation is sort of inherent

in all that we do um so it seems like

you're doing things that are

upgrading in this essentially yeah a few

extra hand sanitizer stations here and

there

um then we also put checklist there's

daily checklists that each of the

kitchens have to do

just as a way to get into a new normal

or new habits

that we're really just again it's a

human element and i'm just as guilty of

straying away from maybe an old habit or

a new habit just as anyone else's so

those checklists i've always been a

checklist guy and having those

checklists

really just kind of helps you all right

i gotta double check this this and this

today or i saw a problem area with that

i need to go talk to someone so so those

checklists have been very very crucial

for us

chip jones could you please let us know

a little bit about your role here at the

greenbrier and

how you ended up here in beautiful west

virginia absolutely jackie so

i actually uh graduated

from the university of maryland with a

dream degree in criminal justice

uh while i was at school uh

for whatever reason i didn't like eating

in the dining halls so

i started cooking in my dorm room and by

the time i graduated i figured out i

didn't want to do anything with criminal

justice

so i went back to school to get a degree

in culinary arts

i went to school in baltimore when i was

in school

i met a uh certified master pastry chef

his name was

jan vanduala who was friends with

the uh at the time executive chef of the

hotel peter timmons

so he said hey i know this place in west

virginia it's a huge place they have

restaurants they have banquets

uh you should go down there you know

peter's a great guy you'll learn a lot

from them so

uh i've never been to west virginia

before and i just so i

came down and visited i talked to my one

of my predecessors chef mangle

was the one who hires me he's actually

still here uh

and based upon that one visitor said

okay

i'm gonna pack up and move to west

virginia and i did

and that was in 2005. so

i worked here from 2005 to 2008

um and then while working here i met

michael baltaggio

he ran the old tavern restaurant for one

year and then hemispheres for a year so

i got to work with him up there

and then we i moved to los angeles and

worked

with michael in opening uh jose andres

restaurant

the bazaar i worked at a couple other

places and then finally we

made my way back here in 2011 so

uh and then i assumed my current role in

2016.

so i've been executive sous chef for uh

this will be my fifth season

that's wonderful i'm noticing a pattern

too a lot of a lot of people

are working here and then they get drawn

back they come back i mean it's a great

place to live so

uh especially if you're into outdoors

you like to fish

uh i i would say that probably all of

the shepherd cuisines you know either

fish hunt

uh you know mountain bike or just like

being outdoors so

it's a great place like great place to

be so and what's your favorite part

about working here in the property

my favorite part is the variety

it's you can go you know

from a restaurant to a banquet uh we've

had pga tour events we had

the um the greenbrier classic which was

a military tribute to the greenbrier for

uh 10 years so we had that we've also

had training camps for

nfl teams the texans and the saints held

here so

40 usually on average about 40 weddings

a year so the variety here and that's

kind of

the selling point that i'll talk to when

when hiring

students or cooks is you know you can go

to another place that

maybe just does banquet food

and you'll learn a good bit there but if

you come here you can

work in the banquet kitchen you can work

in a steakhouse you can

go and work in infusions and learn how

to roll sushi or at the forum and

learn how to make pizza pies so so the

variety

is is one of the things that i love

about it and um you know

my kids live here so i get to see them

uh you know they live about a mile down

the road for me so that's the other best

part and they love to come in here

uh my daughter's actually been in about

three times

uh to hang out and cook with me so

that's that's great so

that is awesome i love it you almost

have miso maybe i'm gonna move through

sure we're hiring you can go on our

website it's thegreenbriar.com

under employment all right and look at

the job

keep an eye out um you mentioned young

chefs though so i do want to touch on

that what what is your advice

to those young chefs or those who are

thinking about coming into the industry

and perhaps might want to work here in

the future

the benefit of working here is that you

know a lot of people will say that well

it's

it's not in a big city uh but that to me

that was the benefit

uh there weren't distractions everywhere

you know you you could

you go to work and you go home and and

most of the you know main street shuts

down at nine o'clock and that's fine

um because uh you know like my dad

always told me you know nothing good

ever happens after midnight so there's

there's no reason to stay out that late

um but i would say that's that's the

biggest benefit is

the focus that you can put into uh your

craft and just working

um instead of being distracted by

everything else in getting to know

everyone

uh here at the resort even more i can

see that mentorship is

key so i'm wondering if you might be

able to share with us who

your mentor mentors are so i would say

that my biggest mentor has

been my dad he doesn't have a culinary

bone in his body

uh he could you know he can barely i

have a story about him calling me how to

uh cook ribs and potatoes and i went

through the whole

whole recipe with him for 10 minutes and

then he finally told me that

oh no they're already cooked i just need

to know how to heat him up he didn't

even heat up ribs

but uh all jokes aside um

his work ethic is is next to next to

none i mean i

just growing up seeing him um you know

he doesn't

obviously doesn't work in the culinary

industry but the dedication he put into

his his career working nights and

weekends when he had to

uh you know to support his family uh my

brother my mom

uh just kind of you know that's

inspiring to me

so so my dad well it seems like it

ripped off

thank you i hope so just a little bit

um and um a little bit off topic with

that do you have a favorite

restaurant or food service outfit on

property that or one that's most special

to you

one property uh it would probably be the

main kitchen this is this is the

the line that i learned to cook on you

know where i kind of like grew up

um when i started here in 2005 we only

had four restaurants at the time

um and my i remember my first night here

it was actually like june 16th 2005.

uh i went to my pre-shift meeting you

know i was super nervous

and uh we sit down and the chef the

cuisine at the time said uh

that we're gonna do 660 people in this

and i said that's in the hotel right not

so um 660 people

in the main dining room was my first

service uh and i think i probably

i started on pantry stations so i made

300

caesar salads and probably another 200

iceberg salads and

scooped about 400 scoops of ice cream so

um i would say

working you know having memories like

that and working on this line was

probably

uh it's probably my favorite restaurant

that's excellent and i also love for

the chefs we're tuning in too to see

that you started on the pantry station

and you're now all the way up with this

executive chef of the whole resort

yeah i mean yeah and the idea around

that is it's

you have to know every station in the

kitchen you know if

somebody comes in they say well i'm not

gonna work salad station i just

i'm just going to cook beef because

that's the most important

station in the kitchen well it's not

they're all important and

as you grow as a chef as you get

experience and get

promoted you need to know how to run the

pantry station

or dessert station so you can teach

other people how to and so that you can

run a better business so

i'm all about i'm all about learning and

grassroots in the kitchen especially

yeah well absolutely and i think it

shows that there's no shortcuts

to hard work and absolutely not i know

during this pandemic it's it's been a

very challenging time when did the

greenbrier actually close its doors

so the decision to close the hotel was

made on

march 18th so uh that we would close

on the following day at noon and then

that gave

gave us about 24 hours to get most of

the guests out of here uh

obviously you know they needed to make

plans and arrangements to get home

and then we had all of our guests were

out of here on the 20th

wow so uh and then fast forward

two months uh and then we reopened on

uh may the 22nd so we opened that friday

so yeah two months

a little over two months to the day so

oh my gosh well um i know it's with so

much food and beverage that you all do

here at the resort

what did you do with all of the

perishable food when you had to close

down

we kind of put everything in the boxes

that we could

either freeze like our sauces we would

cry back them

a good portion of our proteins obviously

some of our

prepared foods we had to discard you

know due to

laws about donating but uh

the perishable fruits and vegetables

that we had in the storeroom

we went through i forget how many it was

about 16 000 pounds of food

that we were able to distribute to local

uh shelters or uh charities that were

then able to

to give to to people who had lost their

jobs or been laid off

um kind of like a pickup you know they

put it put a bunch of fruit in a bag a

bunch of veggies

uh and then the residents of greenbrier

county were able to come over and get

that and then take it back to their home

so

that's that's wonderful that you were

able to make those arrangements from

that project absolutely

i hate throwing food away so as your

team members started coming back to work

what were some of the biggest changes

that had to be made

so number one i would say would be the

security checks when coming on

properties so

we have tents at our main gate

primarily for guests and then we have uh

a tent at our security gate number two

for which is our employee entrance so

the employees come in

uh it's cordoned off you have to follow

the ropes

uh you get a temperature check and you

get a mask and they ask you a series of

six questions

you know have uh have you been exposed

to anyone that's been uh you know

diagnosed with kovid

have you been out of state and then

based upon those questions the security

team

uh determines whether or not you're able

to come into work

every day every day every every shift

actually

so if if a lot of our front of the house

staff work multiple

shifts during the day so when they leave

property and come back on they have to

go through

cycle through the the process all over

again wow okay well that's great let's

race now

um i just want to say a quick thank you

to jackie persinger

and uh alan sterling for taking the time

out of their

busy schedule and coming up here to

check out the green bar

we really appreciate it we had a great

time great to get the info out there

we're super excited with how busy we are

and sharing that with everyone

if you ever have any questions you know

if you want more information about

what we did with our protocols or how we

communicated to our guests

easy just shoot me a dm on instagram or

send me an email

and also too hope everyone starts

thinking about maybe the summer or the

fall and

you can either come up here or a little

r and r with your family

or perhaps you may know a young

culinarian that's just starting out that

may want to

move away from home and come to a nice

roll area and

hunker down and you know learn some good

fundamental cooking

so again thank you again and appreciate

it thank you acf

have a good one thank you so much for

joining us today as we visited the

greenbrier resort here in west virginia

a lot of great information

for those who are opening post pandemic

and please make sure you put this on the

list of your next travel destinations

there'll be more episodes coming soon

inside america's kitchens with the

american culinary federation

you