January 17, 2020

Hospitality’s Winter All-Hands meeting began on a blustery January 9 morning and was an illuminating day to learn what’s been, what’s new, and what the future holds for the department. 
Agatha Williams, Director of Organization and Workplace Excellence, kicked off with an overview of her team’s role in staff support, training, and development. Chef James Benson, our Director of Culinary Excellence since July 2019, shared his backstory and impressive food background with the group, along with his culinary vision for the future of food at Yale as it relates to sustainability, plant-forward initiatives, menu, and product development. 
Jack Callahan, Senior Vice President for Operations, shed light on campus evolution for Yale College and the Schwarzman Center, along with the anticipated opening of the Jackson School for Global Affairs and the Center for Humanities at 320 York Street. Callahan discussed important new leadership, Scott Strobel, the University’s new provost and Nancy Brown, Dean of the Yale School of Medicine, closing with comments on new opportunities and challenges for Yale into the future.
Tyisha Walker, Chief Steward of Local 35 and President of the New Haven Board of Alders, a formidable rep for her union, advised that dining invest in its workforce and create greater training opportunities for advancement. 
Associate Vice President, Rafi Taherian, expanded on the idea of “More than One,” making connections between Hospitality’s work and the people we serve. Simply put, the food served isn’t about a single meal or transaction, but rather the memorable experiences that are created around the table. Rafi emphasized Hospitality’s responsibility not only to Yale, but to our region, our community, our planet, and to the food industry. He also noted some exceptional events this past year, including the New Mediterranean Plated Feature from Berkeley College, Catering’s extraordinary 50/150 event celebrating women at Yale, and the implementation of an exciting new technology program, Jamix, which will manage multiple transactions across operations and create inventory efficiencies for dining and retail.
Deborah Stanley-McAulay, Associate Vice President of Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture, gave an illuminating presentation on diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. To follow, Stacey Hepburn-James, Director of the Schwarzman Center, and Hospitality Directors Adam Millman, Dan Flynn, and Bob Sullivan spoke about new developments at the Schwarzman Center, including construction updates on the Grove Street Addition and the Grotto. Stacey also disseminated pertinent dates through June about job description postings and training. 
Our exceptional staff and their commitment to excellence are always deserving of acknowledgment. 2019 Recognitions were presented for the following:
  • The Bake Shop at the Culinary Support Center, led by Brandie Villanova with Edna Betzner, Kallie Chausse, Joseph Hamilton, Rhonda Myers, Ashley Acquarulo, Bonnie Hill, and Pedro Rinera. Together, this team represents over 150 years of experience combined, performing exceptional work while producing impressive quantities of baked goods daily.
  • Timothy Dwight for their Spa Water Program, slashing sugary beverage consumption by a whopping 41% (compared to a 28% reduction campus-wide). Special kudos to Rose Colon for her care and beautiful presentation of the spa waters at TD.
  • Erase the Waste, an important sustainability initiative towards reduction in energy use—steam, water, electricity, and gas. A push for the reduction in food organic waste is equally primary to this goal, and the Cleanest Compost champion was Davenport.
  • Newly opened Steep Café on Science Hill for service and new concept with Clenone Irwin, Yvette Young, Mattie Dixon, and Dorlo Lhaso. 

Also recognized were Yale University’s Linda K. Lorimer Award winners for distinguished service, Crystal Coleman of Timothy Dwight College, and Dan Flynn, Director of Hospitality and Maintenance.

To end the day, a delicious feast prepared by Hopper College was served at Yale on York along with karaoke performed by talented souls brave enough to sing and dance onstage. We’re looking forward to continued progress and success in 2020. More to follow at the next Hands On in September!